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Sheriff's Office says Carroll residents targeted in phone scam

By Kevin E. Dayhoff, kevindayhoff@gmail.com

5:07 PM EDT, April 29, 2013

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The Carroll County Sheriff's Office said Monday that county residents have been hit with a series of suspicious telephone calls in which the caller claims that he's holding a family member captive until an amount — between several hundred and several thousand dollars — is paid because of "damages."

According to information from the Sheriff's Office, suspicious telephone calls are reported to have also been made to Baltimore County and Baltimore City residents.

In Carroll County, a Hampstead man and a Mount Airy man each reported receiving a call where the male caller claimed to have been involved in a motor vehicle accident with a member of the victim's immediate family, with the caller citing the correct name of the family member, police said.

According to the sheriff's office, the calls display a local exchange, but officials suspect the call may originate from outside the United States.

Thus far, the Sheriff's Office has not received any reports of residents being defrauded by the calls. However, officials are asking residents to be wary. If a person receives a suspicious call, the Sheriff's Office recommends that they do not reply to any request asking to pay fees or damages; do not send any money; do not send or hand over identification documents; never surrender details of bank accounts or payment cards; never agree to meet the person. Instead, ask for a phone number or contact information and contact a law enforcement agency immediately

Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to contact the Carroll County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Division at 410-386-2900, or the Anonymous TIPS Hotline at 1-888-399-TIPP.