Howard County residents are being warned about a telephone scam involving missing jury duty.
Police said at least four cases have been reported where a suspect claims to be a Howard County Sheriff’s Deputy and tells the victim they’ve missed jury duty. The victim is told there is a warrant for their arrest and are encouraged to pay a phone over the phone via a prepaid debit card to avoid arrest.
The scammers are trying to get victims to use Green Dot reloadable prepaid cars. The victims are told to purchase the cars, and then relay the card numbers over the phone.
The Howard County Sheriff’s Department and the Howard County Police Department said they never demand any payments of the phone and are urging residents to take precautions.
The Howard County Office of Consumer Affairs recommends the following tips for avoiding scams and protecting your privacy:
- Anyone can claim to be with a government agency, business or charitable organization.
- Don’t feel pressured to make a decision on the spot.
- Keep your personal information to yourself.
Similar scams have also been reported within Howard County referencing other agencies and businesses, including the IRS and BGE. Howard County Police reminds residents to never give out personal or monetary information over the phone. Be wary of unknown callers requesting payment over the phone via prepaid cards, money orders, or wire transfers.
If you believe you may have been a victim of a telephone scam, call police at (410) 313-2200 or file an online police report at hcpd.org.