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Md., Va. authorities warn of scam phone calls that appear to come from State Police

WASHINGTON — State police are warning Maryland and Virginia residents about a new scam involving calls that appear to come from legitimate state police phone numbers.

The callers threaten citizens with arrest and demand hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars for fines or what they claim to be money owed to the Internal Revenue Service.

One individual reported to Virginia State Police Aug. 17 that she sent the caller $2,000 in gift cards as requested. Police said a 72-year-old woman from Fredericksburg was also
scammed — this time out of more than $12,000 — by someone claiming to be with the “IRS Criminal Investigations Unit.”

In both cases, the victims report talking with someone with a “thick foreign accent.”

A woman also in her 70s alerted Maryland police officials to repeated calls she said she received from a man with a “heavy foreign” accent, state police said in an Aug. 17 news release.

The woman said caller ID identified the call as coming from the publicly listed number for Maryland State Police’s Rockville Barrack, and the man identified himself as Lt. Dan Pickett, the commander of the Rockville Barrack. The woman told police the caller said she owed $800 and would be arrested unless she paid quickly.

The woman said she hung up on the caller each time.

The Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division is now investigating the calls.

Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley told WTOP authorities have only received the one complaint so far, but are hoping to hear from other potential victims. Anyone who received similar calls should contact police at 410-761-5130 or email msp.centralsouth@maryland.gov. Callers can also contact police through the anonymous tip line at 888-210-1450.

Anyone receiving fraudulent calls about owing taxes can report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration online or call 1-800-366-4484.

Anyone who believes they may legitimately owe taxes can contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated case, Fredericksburg, Virginia, police say a man attempted to impersonate a police officer and even tried to make a traffic stop in downtown Fredericksburg last week. On Aug. 12, a motorist reported being pulled over by a man, who threatened him with three tickets, according to a crime report by Fredericksburg police.

When the motorist questioned the man about his law enforcement credentials, the man got in his vehicle and drove away.

The suspect was described as a white male in his 50s with long gray, slicked-back hair, unkempt facial hair and glasses, wearing gaudy silver rings and an arrowhead necklace, according to the crime report. The man was driving a Toyota truck similar to a T-100.

Anyone with information is asked to call Fredericksburg police at 540-373-3122 or can make an anonymous tip by sending a text to “847-411” and texting “FPDtip” followed by the tip.

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report. 

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