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Maryland sees rise in white collar, Internet and identity crimes

Citizens are encouraged to beware of an ongoing telephone scam that is rampant in the state of Maryland. The sheriff’s office has been fielding reports of attempted frauds by telephone lines.

In two cases, individuals experienced answering the phone and the caller identified himself as an officer. While one left a phone message requesting a call-back, the other instructed the user to not leave the house until the person called back. The call-back never came but the incident was unnerving.

When authorities ran the phone numbers, they were able to identify the numbers as fraudulent Internet sites. One person who complained received multiple calls.

One victim described a caller as a male with a foreign accent, and another gave a name, requesting a discussion about legal matters. When there was no exchange of information the caller became indignant and used offensive language. One victim who complained stated the callers wanted sensitive information. So far, all telephone numbers have been associated as scams.

One individual received a call from a person who identified himself as an employee of Microsoft and directed the user to a website where information could be downloaded. His excuse was the presence of technical problems. The caller became suspicious and hung up. Another reported case stated the person answering the phone had won a prepaid Visa gift card from a television provider.

It is commonplace in the U.S. to reach outsourced support calls, so we are not put off by the presence of a foreign accent; it is never a good idea to give out credit card numbers, PINS, or social security numbers. If you live in Maryland and have been a victim of criminal charges such as computer fraud or illegal Internet activity, it is not a laughing matter. With the development of technology, our privacy has been compromised through mobile computing, smartphone and computer use, all of which can be tracked and traced.

Everyone is a target. It is in your best interest to exercise caution and judiciousness if you are faced with an offer that sounds too good to be true. Protect yourself and your family and be careful if someone enlists you in a job that employs cold calling under the pretense of selling a product or service. Get help or guidance from a qualified person who can help you make sound judgment calls to protect you and your finances.

Source: Baynet.com, "Three attempted fraud using telephone scams reported", July 8, 2014

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