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Maryland courts warn of return of 'bench warrant' scam

Scammers are calling residents of Baltimore County and enticing them to pay hundreds of dollars to avoid arrest, Maryland court administrators warned Friday.

The “bench warrant” scam has been recently reported in Baltimore County. A similar scam targeted Howard County families last year.

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In the scam, a caller claims to be an officer from the local sheriff’s office. This caller claims a judge has issued a bench warrant in the resident’s name for failing to attend a hearing that morning. When the resident tells the caller they did not receive a summons, the caller claims it was sent to their work address — giving the actual address — and that someone at the office signed the certified mail receipt.

While he was in the Harford County Circuit Courthouse on a case, Harford County lawyer received a phone call Wednesday morning that his wife had been kidnapped and the caller was demanding money for her return. It turned out to be a scam, Bel Air Police said. The wife was found safe at her work.

The caller instructs the resident to drive to a location and obtain a “bond voucher” for hundreds of dollars.

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Courts do not call people to notify them about a bench warrant, nor do they instruct them to bring a “bond voucher.”

Police throughout Maryland are warning residents of a threatening text message scam they say can erase data from your phone.

Anyone receiving such a call should hang up immediately, Maryland court administrators said. Those affected may call the Office of the Attorney General, 410-528-8662 or toll free 888-743-0023

Howard County police are investigating a series of telephone scams after receiving nearly 20 complaints from residents who claim that the scammer is asking for money as a law enforcement official from the Howard County Sheriff's Office.

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