Howard County, MD launches Scam Alert!

In response to the growing number of scams confronting residents, the Howard County, MD,  Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) has launched a new “Scam Alert!” website, where residents can learn about the latest and most common scams, how to identify them, and how to report them.

This year alone, OCA has received reports about the following:

  • “IRS scam” in which con artists, posing as tax agents, told unsuspecting residents that they owed money for back taxes and would be arrested if they did not pay immediately.
  • “Microsoft scam” in which callers claiming to be from the company’s tech support claimed a routine scan of the resident’s computer revealed a security glitch. Residents were told that if they did not give the caller remote access to their computer, they were vulnerable to hackers.
  • Home improvement contractors who offered to make repairs at a fraction of what others charge, only to demand more money when the substandard job was complete.  

Most scams are variations on age-old frauds that have been updated to take advantage of news events or changes in technology. So, the Scam Alert! site also provides visitors with warning signs to help them detect whether a phone call, e-mail or door-to-door sales offer is nothing more than a con.

“We’re telling residents who believe they may have been contacted by a potential con artist to report the incident to the Office of Consumer Affairs using the Scam Alert! website. The Office uses these reports to alert others to the scam and forwards them on to federal enforcement agencies that investigate and prosecute the worst offenders.

For more information on avoiding scams, identify theft and other deceptive practices, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs at 410-313-6420 or by e-mail at consumer@howardcountymd.gov.

Leave a Comment

Comment Policy

This is a moderated blog; we review all comments before they are posted.  We expect participants to treat each other and the bloggers with respect.  We will not post comments that do not comply with our comment policy.  If a submitted comment includes a link to a commercial website, we will delete the link and post the comment. We won't edit comments except to remove links.

We won’t post:

  • spam or off-topic comments
  • comments that contain vulgar language, personal attacks, or offensive terms that target specific groups
  • sales pitches or promotions
  • comments that contain clearly misleading or false information
  • comments that contain personal information, like home addresses

Comments submitted to this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personal information. Also, do not use this blog to report fraud; instead, file a complaint.

If you have questions about the commenting policy, please contact us.

Read Our Privacy Act Statement

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a
user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act
authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online
comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s
(FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer
user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the
FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles
information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.