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Phone Scam Targets Family Members with Threats for Money

Police say that a phone scammer told a Montgomery County woman her son would be killed If she didn’t send money.

A phone scam has recently re-emerged in Maryland and could be targetting your family members.

Police in Montgomery County reported that a Rockville woman was the victim of a phone scam in which a caller told her that her son had been kidnapped after an accident and would be killed unless she sent money.

Instructed not to call police, the victim complied, wiring money to Florida and Puerto Rico. The son had not been in an accident and had never been in danger. The scammer is still at large.

Montgomery County police have linked the incident to at least two others in Aspen Hill and Montgomery Village as well as a November incident in Chevy Chase.

According to police, the scammer tells the victim that a family member or friend of the victim is in trouble or needs help.  He or she asks leading questions in order to retrieve personal information, creating a sense of urgency. To assist in helping the family or friend, the scammer tells the victim to send money.

Through a method known as “spoofing,” a fake local-looking number will appear on the caller ID.

Police are urging residents not to give out information over the phone, to verify the caller’s story by taking with family or friends, and not to send money.

Read more about the scam on Rockville Patch.

Tell us: Have you heard of a similar scam in Prince George's County?

Michael Dwells March 12, 2013 at 02:13 PM
I've read about spoofing at http://www.callercenter.com/articles/calleridspoofing.html and it's alarming how such a technology can be used to fool victims into thinking the call was from someone else other than the caller's real phone number. Can't the telephone companies help prevent this?

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