The Baltimore County Police Department has received several recent complaints regarding telephone scams. 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. 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.
These suspects rely on fear to pressure the victims to act quickly, before they realize that the story does not make sense or before they can speak to the family member. The script may change, but the strategy is the same. The caller will tell the victim about an immediate crisis that only money can fix, and will demand that the victim send money to the suspect's account.
Following 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 the ones above. 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.