Judicial officials are warning residents of scam telephone calls purporting to be from staff members of the Mobile County Circuit Court — calls falsely claiming the potential victims have missed a court date and need to pay a fine.
Lagniappe heard from one resident on Wednesday who said the would-be scam artists left a series of voicemails directed at him and his wife earlier this week. He didn’t wish to have his name printed but did share some details about the calls he received.
“In both instances, a man claiming to be James Thompson from the Mobile County Clerk of Court’s office wanted to get in touch with us because we missed a court date,” he said. “I called the number two times; the [voicemail] recording referenced James Thompson’s desk but nothing to indicate he really was a court official.”
That’s because he wasn’t. In fact, a staff member in Mobile County Circuit Court Clerk JoJo Schwarzauer’s office said no one by the name James Thompson is employed with the local court system at all. However, she said similar calls have been reported throughout the area.
The scammers are falsely telling their targets that they have an arrest warrant for missing jury duty or some other type of scheduled court appearance. Some have been told they owe as much $950 in court fines.
The man who spoke with Lagniappe earlier said the calls he received specifically referenced “Hon. Judge Ben H. Brooks,” a local circuit judge. A representative from Brooks’ courtroom said Wednesday that local judicial officials and law enforcement had been made aware of the calls.
“The court has been advised that false calls have been received by some members of the public about potential penalties due to missed court dates,” she said. “The court suggests that any persons receiving such calls contact the Mobile District Attorney’s office immediately.”
The same court staffer said the Mobile County Circuit Court does not contact potential jurors, defendants or witnesses or solicit past due court fees over the telephone. Any official correspondence from the court, they said, would be sent in writing.
The Mobile County District Attorney’s office can be reached 251-574-8400.