January 24

Maine court system warns of scam

Callers pretending to be court employees seek to get personal information by saying a fine is due or a court date has been missed.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Maine’s court system is warning of a scam in which residents are receiving telephone calls from someone pretending to be with the court system seeking to collect a fine.

Courts have received reports in Bridgton, Alfred, Auburn and Fort Kent from residents reporting that they received a call from someone saying they were a court employee and that the person has missed a fine payment or court date or that a warrant has been issued for their arrest. The caller seeks to get personal information.

What makes the scam particularly insidious is that the callers use a mechanism by which caller ID indicates the call is coming from a Maine court, said a statement from Mary Ann Lynch, spokeswoman for the administrative office of the courts.

The technique, called “Caller ID Spoofing” can be used to display any telephone number regardless of where the call actually originated, and it is becoming more common.

Maine courts do not use the telephone or email to collect fines and no one with the court system will request credit card or Social Security numbers over the telephone or by email. Court communications come through the U.S. Postal Service.

If someone is concerned about a possible fine they should call their local courthouse and speak to a court clerk, she said.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

dhench@pressherald.com

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