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Police: Beware Phone Scams

A string of incidents where a caller demands money for unpaid property taxes have been reported in Baltimore County.

County police are warning residents to be aware of telephone scams after a rash of reported incidents stemming mostly from the Essex and Dundalk areas.

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.

Other Tim June 21, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Just don't answer it! Why would you? If your caller ID says "Private Number", the caller has purposely blocked his/her name from showing up on your phone.
Gopal Das June 22, 2012 at 04:53 AM
I think everybody should check out the Scam Detector app. I believe they're online as well.
Jessica June 26, 2012 at 03:29 PM
You can also block your number too. That also means your number will not show up in the telephone book. I kept getting some calls even after my phone number has been on the donotcall.gov list, every so often. So I blocked my number also. So far so good. Only places that should have your number anymore is your phone company and and people you have credit cards with or paying bills too, besides your family.
Margaret June 30, 2012 at 02:12 PM
What about people who keep saying they are the baltimore co. police department and ask for a donation? Is there a way that we can stop it?? Even though I have tried the donotcall.gov I still get it
Other Tim July 04, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Most of these people are paid fundraisers. Just hang up the phone. You don't need to talk to them (don't be rude- they are just trying to make a living). Most fund raising organizations are exempt from the do not call list.

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