HAGERSTOWN, MD – Recently, scammers have been contacting the local public and misrepresenting themselves as Hagerstown Police Department Officers in an attempt to scam people out of large amounts of money claiming that the person has a warrant for their arrest and that money needs to be paid for bail or else that person will go to jail. According to the Hagerstown Police Department, this is a scam.
According to the city, Hagerstown Police Department, nor any law enforcement agency, conduct business in this manner. When in doubt, residents should contact a known local law enforcement number, not the one provided by the caller.
Scammers use technology to change phone numbers and email addresses that appears on your caller ID or computer, so it is possible for scammers to “spoof” Hagerstown Police Department or other local numbers. These numbers are not real, and cannot be tracked.
Per Hagerstown Police Department, signs that you are being scammed include:
1. You are directed to pay in the form of BITCOIN or GIFT CARDS!!!
2. They claim that you are in trouble with the government: IRS, Social Security, have a warrant with local police department, etc.
3. They claim that you owe money—usually large amounts.
4. They claim that someone in your family has had an emergency and you don’t know the caller.
5. They claim that there’s a virus on your computer and it’s about to be corrupted.
6. They claim that there’s a problem with one of your accounts (Bank, Amazon, utilities, cell phone) and that you need to provide your account information (Usually username and password).
7. They claim that you won money in a lottery or sweepstakes (that you didn’t enter) and have to pay a fee to obtain it.
8. They threaten to arrest you, sue you, take away your driver’s license or business license, or deport you.
9. They send you a check (that will later turn out to be fake) to deposit, and then you are directed to send them some money in return.
Tips from Hagerstown Police Department to avoid being scammed:
1. Block unwanted calls, text messages and emails and filter unwanted text messages/emails.
2. Don’t give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn’t expect. Legitimate organizations won’t call, email or send a text message to ask for your personal information like your Social Security number, bank account number, or credit card numbers.
3. DO NOT CALL THE NUMBER PROVIDED BY THE SCAMMER IN AN EMAIL OR TEXT MESSAGE! If you get an email or text message from a company you do business with and you think it’s real, it’s still best NOT to click on any provided links. Instead, contact the business using a website you know is trustworthy or look up their legitimate phone number.
4. Resist the pressure to act immediately. Legitimate businesses will give you time to make a decision. Anyone who pressures you to pay or give them your personal information is probably a scammer.
5. NEVER pay someone who insists you pay with a gift card or by using a money transfer service. NEVER deposit a check and then send money back to someone.
If you think that you are being scammed, talk to someone you trust–a friend, a family member, a neighbor, or especially, local law enforcement. Hagerstown Police Department can be reached at 301-790-3700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional resources for victims of scams:
Federal Trade Commission: https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/
Identity Theft reporting and recovery: https://www.identitytheft.gov/