The state and federal courts in Maine issued warnings Friday about phone and email scams involving thieves who impersonate court personnel to trick people into paying bogus fines or to steal their identifies.

The Maine Judicial Branch issued its warning after a York County resident was defrauded of $1,000 this week. The victim received a telephone call that showed up on caller ID as a Maine courthouse’s telephone number or the sheriff department’s number.

“The Maine Judicial Branch wants to remind Maine people that the courts’ collection practices do not include telephone or email contact, and that no one working for Maine courts or the sheriff’s department will request credit card, social security numbers or other personal information either over the telephone or by email. Nor will they appear at your home looking for money,” said Mary Ann Lynch, spokeswoman for the Judicial Branch.

The Judicial Branch already had sent out warnings this year about an email scam involving a software virus and a phone scam involving someone impersonating court employees.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Maine issued a similar warning, saying that citizens are being targeted by phone and email with the threat that they will be prosecuted for failure to comply with jury service. The targets of the scam are also being asked to provide confidential information, such as social security numbers, birth dates and other personal details.

“These false requests are used to coerce citizens into providing confidential data, which could lead to identity theft or fraud,” U.S. District Court Clerk Christa Berry said. “In some cases, citizens are informed that there is a warrant for their arrest and they are asked to pay a fine. These scams may use the actual names of judicial officers, courts and law enforcement personnel to lend authenticity to their illegal activity.”

Federal courts use an online program for jurors called E-Juror and never request that personal identification information be sent directly in an email or by phone, Berry said.

Anyone with questions for the federal court can call (800) 578-5708 or visit the court’s website at

In state courts, payments for traffic tickets can be made online at and payments for court fines can be made online at