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Howard police are reporting more than $80,000 has been lost in the county to gift card scams since October.

Victims in Howard County have lost $50,900 in the first half of November and $34,900 during October, police said.

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The county released a video last week, via the Howard County Police Department’s Twitter, explaining the nature of the scams.

According to the video, the scams begin with a threatening, unsolicited phone call and eventually the suspect solicits money to resolve the presented issue. The money is requested in the form of gift cards, police said.

“Scammers ask victims to purchase gift cards for various stores (Target, Walmart, etc.) or gift cards for online sellers like eBay, Apple, Google, etc.,” county police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said.

Police discovered the scam after Howard County residents contacted police.

“It is not unique to Howard County. We are raising awareness of it in the hopes that people recognize these scams and do not lose money,” Llewellyn said.

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