Maryland State Police have been investigating a computer scam in which a Cecil County victim was nearly bilked out of tens of thousands of dollars, according to an MSP press release.
On Aug. 23, a female victim entered the Maryland State Police North East barrack to report a phone/computer scam. The victim said she began receiving phone calls about her computer virus software being set to expire, according to the press release. She soon provided her bank information to the suspects, who allegedly took control of her bank account and withdrew $350. The victim told investigators she asked for a refund.
Instead of refunding her money, the suspect allegedly moved approximately $35,000 from the victim’s savings account into her checking account, according to the press release. The suspect then told her they “accidentally” deposited the money from their company into her checking account. The suspect allegedly told the victim he needed her to return the money in cash or he would lose his job. She was told she could pay the money back in two installments.
Believing she had to do this, the victim then traveled to her bank and withdrew $17,500. The victim packaged the money in plastic and wrapped it in duct tape, as she had been instructed by the suspect. The victim sent the package to an address in California via FedEx priority shipping before becoming suspicious and contacting state police.
Investigators obtained tracking information and contacted the FedEx fraud department. FedEx security intercepted the package prior to it being loaded on a route delivery vehicle. The package was opened and found to contain the $17,500 sent by the victim. FedEx security conducted an audit of the California address and discovered a second suspicious package that also contained a large amount of money, according to the release.
These scammers are using scare tactics and sophisticated technology to attempt to take advantage of the public, according to the state police.
Never give any personal information over the phone, and only allow a qualified reputable computer technician the ability to repair your computer should it become infected with a virus, according to the press release. Many of these telephone scams are disguising themselves by utilizing local telephone number prefixes. Anyone who receives such a phone call should hang up and then contact their local state police barrack. Callers may remain anonymous.
This case remains under investigation.