Maryland Judiciary warns of new bench warrant scam

The Maryland Judiciary is warning the public about a new telephone scam where a caller asks people for their Social Security number after threatening them with arrest for failure to appear in court. The new scam has been reported in California, and victims are being directed to call the Baltimore County Clerk’s Office. The caller claims to be from “Statewide Legal Services” or a real or fake organization with a similar sounding name. The caller tells the victim there are outstanding bench warrants for their arrest for failure to appear in court, and the caller requests the victim’s Social Security number and home address. Once the victim provides their Social Security number, they are directed to contact the Baltimore County Clerk’s Office if they have any questions.

This call is a scam. Anyone receiving such a call should hang up immediately. Anyone receiving a message claiming the above should not respond. The Maryland Judiciary has notified the Offices of the State’s Attorney in Baltimore County about this scam. People affected by this or other scams may also contact the Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division, 410-528-8662 or toll free 888-743-0023, as well as local law enforcement.

Courts do not call people to notify them about a bench warrant, nor do they instruct them to provide their Social Security number. Further, courts do not call or email people to obtain payments or personal information. Courts do not request credit card or PayPal payments by email or telephone. As a general reminder, do not provide any personal, credit card, or bank information to a caller or in response to an email claiming to be from a court. If you have received a call or email about a court case or a warrant for arrest, contact the District Court or Circuit Court in your jurisdiction. Contact information for each court is available on the Maryland Judiciary website’s courts directory.

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