County police provide tips on phone scams
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 11:15

Similar scam took place in Dundalk in June

by Ben Boehl

    The Baltimore County Police Department has publicized a list of tips for the public after receiving several recent complaints regarding telephone scams, according to a statement issued by the police department.
    “The caller claims that one of the victim’s loved ones needs money because he or she has been in an accident. In another version of the scam, the caller claims that the victim’s loved one is being held hostage,” the statement read.
   

“In yet another version, bail money is needed. The suspect may provide details that seem to support the story, but they obtain that information from social media and public records.”
    There was such a case in Dundalk last June, when a local resident received a call from someone claiming that her daughter had been kidnapped.
    The resident said her husband had just wired money to their daughter via Western Union and received the threatening call a few hours later.
    The resident said an unidentified caller with a foreign accent called her husband and asked him the last time he saw his daughter?
    The caller was asking for ransom money and implied their daughter had been kidnapped.
    Luckily, the resident’s husband realized it was a scam and hung up the phone. Then he contacted his daughter and got  confirmation that she was fine.
    The police said that the suspects use a fear tactic to pressure their victims to take quick actions, so they do not have time to realize if the story makes sense and they do not want to give them time before they can speak to the family member.
    Police added that the story might be different, but their strategy is the same. The caller will demand that the victim send money to a suspect’s account to address an immediate “crisis” that requires money
    Keeping in mind a few simple tips can help prevent becoming a phone scam victim:
    • Never provide personal information without verifying that the caller is from a legitimate company. Contact your insurance company, the court jurisdiction in question, or the business the caller claims to represent to verify the accuracy of the information they have provided.
    • Contact your family member before taking any action at all.
    • Do not wire money to a bank account if you receive a call similar to those described. Most of these callers are not located within the United States, which can make recovering money more difficult.
    Contact the police to report the call and write down the information provided by the caller to give to the officer.