If the phone rings and someone identifying themselves as a county sheriff’s deputy is demanding instant payment because you failed to report for jury duty, hang up. It’s a scam.

Clerk of Missoula District Court Shirley Faust said on Wednesday, that her office has received calls about just such a scam.

“The caller will say that a deputy is on the way to pick them up, and even provide a badge number,” Faust said. “They’ll suggest that the individual give a credit card number so they can pay the fees and avoid being arrested. It’s a very disturbing scam and it’s definitely not coming from the sheriff’s office, or from the Clark of Court’s office, either.”

Faust described the usual procedure her office follows for those who fail to show up for jury duty.

“Someone from our office will contact the potential juror and remind them, and find out if they just forgot to appear,” she said. “Unless and until someone has been served with notice of a hearing by a sheriff’s deputy and they have a chance to appear at a hearing, they would not be held in contempt and be fined. I believe years and years ago they actually did send sheriff’s deputies out to pick somebody us, but that is not a procedure that we use any longer.”

In case you might think that only registered voters get called for jury duty, think again.

“The jury lists are compiled from voting lists and driver’s licenses, so if somebody doesn’t vote because they don’t want to be called for jury duty, they’re not exempt.”

‘Rule 9 of the Uniform District Court Rules dictates that juror questionnaires may only be provided to the parties, attorneys for parties, judges and court employees. Likewise, under §3-15-403(2) the office must keep an excerpt of the annual jury list for public inspection. The excerpt contains the name, address and birth year of all jurors. When the lists are created for the jury term, the Supreme Court IT division prepares the public list and the Clerk of Court maintains it electronically.’