Residents warned about new telephone lawsuit scam
ANNAPOLIS — Area residents are being warned by the Maryland Judiciary about a telephone scam that has surfaced on the Mid-Shore threatening lawsuits in local courts in an attempt to extort money or obtain personal information by leading people to believe they are subjects of legal action.
According to a statement from the Judiciary, the scam “involves a caller claiming to represent a ‘pre-legal division’ calling about an allegedly ‘intentionally defrauded’ loan that has been forwarded to the District Court. The caller names a local bank, as well as the local court, and demands ‘payment’ to avoid court proceedings.”
Courts, the Judiciary said, do not call people to notify them about the filing of a lawsuit against them. If a lawsuit is filed in District Court, the person is notified by certified mail, or is served with documents, the statement said.
“Anyone receiving such a call should hang up immediately,” the Judiciary statement said, adding the people should not respond to the message. Anyone contacted by such a scam can contact local law enforcement agencies or the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.
The scam has been reported in Kent County, according to a Judiciary statement. Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney Lance Richardson said one incident was reported at a Chestertown address on the Queen Anne’s County side of the river, but he said it appears the suspects have targeted Kent County so far.
Scott MacGlashan, clerk of the Queen Anne’s County Circuit Court, urges anyone receiving such a call not to provide any information and to call the court. “Never, never give such personal information, such as bank accounts, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, etc., to anyone over the telephone,” and treat the call as a scam and a fraud, he said. His office, he said, would be glad to speak with any resident about these concerns.
Richardson had the same message and urged anyone receiving such calls “to obtain as much information from the caller as possible — his or her name, contact information, e-mail, etc., where they can be reached, and where they would like payment sent. Ask the amount of the ‘loan’ and any information that may be obtained which can then be turned over to law enforcement for investigative purposes.”
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Divi- sion can be reached at 410528-8662 or 800-743-0023; the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office is at 410-758-0770; the number at the Centreville Barrack of the Maryland State Police is 410-758-1101; the State’s Attorney can be reached at 410-758-2264; and the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office is at 410-7581773.