In an effort to remain vigilant in making Frederick County residents aware of ongoing phone scams, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office would like to keep citizens informed on some of the trends that have been reported the most.
More recently, individuals have been receiving phone calls from spoofed numbers coming from local County numbers, such as the Sheriff’s Office main number (301-600-1046) and the Frederick County Health Department main number (301-600-1029).
A scammer using the Sheriff’s Office number may pose as a law enforcement official such as a Lieutenant or Sergeant and tell you that you need to report to the Sheriff’s Office for a warrant. They then often tell you that if you want to avoid that, you can pay them a certain amount through purchasing gift cards and giving them the codes or possibly even asking for bank or credit card information.
Calls being spoofed from the Frederick County Health Department’s main number often tell people that they have lost benefits, Medicaid, or are being asked to pay something.
If you feel the call is suspicious, but are unsure because of the use of a legitimate County phone number, we encourage you to hang up and re-dial the number and attempt to confirm any information that was given to you. When you do this, you will be calling the actual number and will be able to speak to a legitimate representative.
The Sheriff’s Office also regularly sees phone scams that are requesting access to computers. Often these callers will tell you that there is a virus on your computer and they need access to fix it. When scammers gain remote access in, they steal identity and account information.
Additionally, scammers may try to tell you that a grandchild or someone close to you has been arrested and needs bail money. They will often try and direct you to buy a specific amount of gift cards such as Google Play, Amazon, or iTunes.
More commonly during tax season, scammers may call you and say they are with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and have warrants out for your arrest, there has been a problem with your tax return, etc. They will try to access your bank account information over the phone. Always remember that the IRS never conducts business by phone, only through mail.
The best course of action is to ignore these calls or to not engage with the caller any further if you think it is suspicious. Citizens are encouraged to share this information with friends and family so that they do not become victims of a phone scam.
The Sheriff’s Office is reminding citizens to always be on the alert for telemarketing scams and to report suspicious activity to their local law enforcement agency. Never provide anyone with personal information such as bank accounts, pin numbers, or Social Security numbers over the phone. For additional tips about how to protect yourself from some of the most common telemarketing schemes, visit https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes.