Res­i­dents warned about new tele­phone law­suit scam

Record Observer - - News - By JACK SHAUM jshaum@kibay­times.com

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.

SCOTT MACGLASHAN

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