WESTMINSTER, Md. — By the time the 80-year-old woman came to the Maryland State Police Westminster barrack, she had already fallen for a con that could cost her $12,000 in cash.
“She had received a phone call from somebody saying her bank account has been compromised and money had been taken out, and they thought it was an employee stealing money,” said MSP Detective Sgt. Michael Knight.
The caller said they would get a bonus for helping to catch the thief.
To help set the trap, the victim went to her bank and withdrew the cash, purchased a box at Home Depot to package it up and sent it overnight through FedEx to an address in California.
Fortunately, by the next morning, she had second thoughts about her actions and reported it.
“When the duty officer found out, we started immediately the process of trying to intercept the package,” said Knight. “Called FedEx and worked with their law enforcement line and we were able to retrieve the package before it was delivered.”
Had the victim waited an hour or two later to report it, the package and her cash would have been gone.
While this is a relatively new scam, investigators say they respond to as many online or telephone schemes than they do burglaries, larcenies and robberies combined.
“If you receive an email that’s very vague and general saying that you’ve been a victim of something. If anyone is asking you to compensate somebody, because you have a warrant for their arrest. They’ll never get rid of a warrant especially if you pay with gift cards,” cautioned Knight.
Police say you should also trust your instincts. If you think something might be a scam, it probably is.