A number of citizens have reported to the Baltimore County Office of Budget and Finance that they received telephone calls from unknown people claiming that annual property taxes had gone unpaid and demanding money, to be mailed immediately under threat of arrest, according to county police.
Senior citizens should be especially wary, a spokesman said.
Corporal John Wachter, a police spokesman, told Patch that the majority of the reported incidents had occurred in the Essex and Dundalk areas, but he stressed that because the scam is run by telephone it could happen to anyone.
"Just because you don't live in an area where this happens a lot doesn't mean it couldn't happen," Wachter said. "It's important to question things that sound strange, especially calls demanding money."
"If you get a call like this you should either call the police or call Baltimore County Taxpayer Services," Wachter said. "And if somebody comes to your door demanding money, you should call 911."
The telephone number for County Taxpayer Services in 410-887-2404, Wachter said.
The police department offers the following advice:
- Never give out their personal or banking information (account and routing numbers) over the phone.
- Attempt to verify the identity of unknown callers, and if possible obtain a callback number. Remember, the phone number could be linked to a fraudulent location.
- Never mail currency or checks to an unknown business or person(s).
- Alert a close family member/friend and call police if the call appears to be suspicious.
- Call the Baltimore County Taxpayer Services Section at 410-887-2404 if they have questions about their property taxes.
- Call 911 immediately if a suspicious person comes to their door claiming to be a Baltimore County official collecting property taxes. Baltimore County does not make home visits to collect taxes.
Have you been or has someone you know been the victim of this type of telephone scam? Tell us in the comments.