Scammers Are On The Move. Here Is Your Defense

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In the past couple of months, public agencies have issued several advisories and warnings due to an uptick in telephone and text message scams in Maryland – notable among which are phony calls soliciting donations to the Maryland State Police.

In these scams, the shady individual on the other end commonly impersonated employees of a public agency and requested financial information from unsuspecting residents. Some scammers reportedly sent text messages peddling fake vaccine cards and offering to register people for accelerated access to vaccines.

Maryland public agencies have warned residents about responding to such texts, phone calls, and emails. Correspondence with a public agency via email must be with an address ending with But identifying phony numbers and texters can be harder to unmask because scammers use spoofing services to choose the caller ID.

Phone users must provide identifying information when registering a number with a mobile carrier in the United States. If an unknown caller contacts you, a reverse phone search will provide all relevant identifying information when you input the unknown number. This tool searches through carrier registries to retrieve the name, location, and public information on the unknown caller. The use of phone search to identify telephone or VOIP numbers is not new – in the past, interested persons had to consult an address book. Las Vegas Police Intelligence once used it to uncover and prove misconduct by a police officer.

Apparently, international students at the University of Maryland have also been victims of similar scams by dubious persons impersonating U.S. Citizenship Services and Immigration and the Internal Revenue Service. No public agency will request identifying information or financial information from a resident. Neither will these agencies direct an individual to make payment through wire transfers, gift cards, or cryptocurrency.

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