As Texas’ annual Jury Appreciation Week approaches in the first week of May, the State Bar of Texas wants to warn Texans about the proliferation of jury duty scams across the state in recent months.

There have been widespread reports of scammers calling residents and accusing them of failing to show up for jury duty. The scammers may claim to be with a local sheriff’s department, the U.S. Marshal’s Office, a district or county clerk’s office, or even a court.

The callers threaten that the person answering will be arrested unless he or she pays an amount, typically $500 but it may vary, using either prepaid gift cards or a wire transfer.

The callers have some knowledge of the jury duty system and often use language that makes them sound legitimate. The callers can get very aggressive and may also ask for personal information, like social security numbers.

Texans should know that no government agency will demand payment over the phone.

If you receive this type of call, hang up the phone. Do not send money and do not answer their questions. Call your local sheriff’s department, district attorney’s office, or court clerk’s office using publicly available phone numbers to report the scammers.