Scam artists posing as police officers have been calling Harris County residents recently insisting that they pay $2,000 to avoid prosecution for missed jury service.

Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel said residents who receive calls should report them to the District Clerk’s Office jury operations at 713-755-6392 (and then hit 0) and the Houston Police or the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

“Please do not fall prey to these con men,” Daniel said. “This same scam is going on now in Arizona, Indiana and Kansas. Do not be fooled.”

Daniel said a con man will identify himself as a major or lieutenant in the Houston Police and say a person has incurred two fines totaling $2,000 for not appearing for jury service.  Scammers sometimes warn people to bring the money or risk arrest or prosecution.

They tell people to pick up a money order for $2,000 at Wal-Mart and bring it to a downtown Houston location.

People receiving the calls have checked the address for that location and found that it was not part of the Harris County court complex or District Clerk’s Office.

“These con men prey on the vulnerable and unsuspecting,” Daniel said. “The District Clerk’s Office is turning over all the information that it has to law enforcement agencies so they can try to get these criminals off the street.”

Area residents have been receiving calls for about two weeks. An elderly man was so worried that he made a trip downtown to see whether he needed to pay a fine or report for jury service.

“This little old man came down here to a jury service window because he was scared,” Daniel said.

The District Clerk’s Office has received no reports that any resident has been duped by the scam.