UPDATE 1: County Sheriff Press Release 2014.07.07
The following was received from District 1 County Councilwoman Mary Lehman, who has asked County police and Sheriff High to investigate further.
The following was reported by a West Laurel resident:
July 6, 2014 ... I am passing on to you a scam phone call I received this afternoon so that you can pass it on to the community.
A man called and left a message on our home phone, saying he was calling in reference to a courthouse matter. Since, I had no idea what that could be about, I returned the call. He claimed to be a Lieutenant from the Sheriff's department and said is name was Glenn Allen. He told me that I had missed grand jury duty on and I had two judgments pending against me - one for Jury Duty Exemption and one for Failure to Appear. Each judgment carried a $1500.00 fine which had to be sent to them within two hours or I would be arrested today. I was to go to any Food Lion or Safeway and send the $3000.00 through something called "green money pak". He said I also had to appear before a Mr. Paul Clemons on at the courthouse in Upper Marlboro. When I questioned him, he became very belligerent and threatened to hang up and just send the officers to arrest me. He also kept mentioning that he knew I was a senior citizen.
I did hang up and called the Prince George's County police and then the sheriff's office to confirm that this was a scam. I am also going to contact the District Attorney's office .
I'm sure you're thinking that I must have been crazy to even talk to him initially, but at the start of the conversation, it all sounded legitimate. I usually don't even answer my phone unless I recognize the number, but because the message said it was a "courthouse matter" I thought he might have me confused with another person with my last name. I can tell you by the time, I hung up I was shaking like a leaf.
I have heard many stories about scammers and their bullying tactics, but I have never experienced anything like that. In retrospect, I can see how much of the information didn't make sense and wasn't connecting, but when I did question him, he accused me of trying to do his job, which he has been doing for 13 years. You know, when someone threatens you with going to jail, all reasonable thought leaves your mind for awhile.
I just want to let others in our community to beware of this type of scam. That $3,000.00 would have been long gone before the meeting.
On Jul 7, 2014, at 9:32 AM, County Sheriff Melvin High wrote:
Good morning Councilmember Lehman and Col. Stawinski,
This is one of many scam scenarios being attempted during recent months in our area as well as nationally. The Sheriff’s Office and the County Police have distributed Public Service Announcements via the media alerting the public to be aware of this activity, particularly targeting senior citizens. Additionally the Sheriff’s Office has made many visits to senior centers and senior housing complexes informing seniors of these scam efforts along with contact information to verify correct information about various government services, requests and activity. Please share 301-780-8600 with anyone that would like to contact the Sheriff’s Office for assistance during regular business hours or the non-emergency public safety communications center anytime at 301-352-1200. I’ll direct my PIO to put out another PSA [see above UPDATE PR] regarding this latest scam. I’ll also ask Col. Stawinski to have someone from the Police Department make contact with this particular complainant to determine if a criminal incident has occurred and to proceed accordingly.