Po­lice warn against tele­phone scam us­ing po­lice precinct phone num­bers

The Dundalk Eagle - - POLICE BEAT -

Bal­ti­more County Po­lice are warn­ing cit­i­zens about a tele­phone scam that may show our po­lice precinct phone num­bers as the call-back number on your caller ID.

Po­lice at Precinct 8 — Parkville re­cently re­ceived a phone call from a con­fused man who stated he was call­ing to dis­cuss his out­stand­ing fed­eral taxes owed to the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice. The equally con­fused of­fi­cer who an­swered the phone ob­tained more de­tails and rec­og­nized the man had been a vic­tim of a tele­phone scam.

The of­fi­cer de­ter­mined that the vic­tim was call­ing back the phone number that was dis­played on his caller ID af­ter hang­ing up on the scam­mer. The vic­tim had just con­versed with the scam­mer, who he de­scribed as a man with a for­eign ac­cent ad­vis­ing the vic­tim had out­stand­ing taxes which needed to be paid. The scam­mer in­structed the vic­tim to pur­chase Google and other brand name gift cards for the pay­ment. When the vic­tim ques­tioned him, the caller be­came irate and be­gan to use pro­fan­ity, at which time the vic­tim hung up the phone. The vic­tim then at­tempted to call back the number on his caller ID and reached the Parkville Precinct.

Res­i­dents should be aware that there is no limit to the number of smart phone apps avail­able that al­low a user to change the number dis­played on another person’s caller ID when re­ceiv­ing a call or text. That’s because it isn’t il­le­gal un­der most cir­cum­stances. Ac­cord­ing to the Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion (FCC), the Un­der the Truth in Caller ID Act dic­tates:

“FCC rules pro­hibit any person or en­tity from trans­mit­ting mis­lead­ing or in­ac­cu­rate caller ID in­for­ma­tion with the in­tent to de­fraud, cause harm, or wrongly ob­tain any­thing of value. If no harm is in­tended or caused, spoof­ing is not il­le­gal.”

For­tu­nately, there are also call-blocker apps and un­mask­ing apps avail­able for down­load onto your smart­phone to help pro­tect you from these types of scams. The best pro­tec­tion, how­ever, is to be­come ed­u­cated about spoof­ing scams and share that in­for­ma­tion with our more vul­ner­a­ble cit­i­zens, the el­derly and young adults. You can learn more about how to pro­tect your­self by fol­low­ing this link to the FCC Spoof­ing and Caller ID guide.

Res­i­dents are re­minded not to share per­sonal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion in­for­ma­tion or credit card in­for­ma­tion to any­one over the phone. Le­git­i­mate gov­ern­ment agen­cies will never re­quest this in­for­ma­tion, nor will a le­git­i­mate gov­ern­ment agency caller yell, use pro­fan­ity, ha­rass or threaten you over the phone. Never agree to meet some­one who claims to be a gov­ern­ment agency rep­re­sen­ta­tive with cash or pre-paid cards of any type.

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