Phone scam threatens the elderly

June 26, 2008 8:53:42 PM PDT
It seems that identity thieves keep coming up with new ways to steal personal information.On Monday, Alex Zukowski was awakened from a nap by his wife.

She told him a man with foreign accent is on the phone claiming to be from the jury selection commission.

"[He said] there's a bench warrant out for your arrest because you didn't show up for jury duty and I want to verify your name," Zukowski said.

The 80-year-old became immediately suspicious, but verified his name.

The suspected identity thief then asked for Zukowski's birth date.

"Then he said let me run through your social security number. Do you want to run through that with me and I said you got more than enough and I hung up on him," Zukowski said.

Lorrie Bellinger of the Jury Commission Administration Office has received nearly 60 complaints over the past two weeks.

"There's quite a few who have fallen for it," Bellinger said.

Philadelphia Police are investigating and suspect the calls are part of an identity theft ring.

"Under no circumstances does jury commission ever ask for social security numbers. There's nothing in our database that require a social security number, so we don't need them," Bellinger said.

Zukowski didn't fall for the ploy, but others haven't been so fortunate.

In many cases, the suspect claims to James Thomas.

If you believe you've been victimized, you're urged to call Philadelphia Police at 215-686-3396.

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