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Worcester County

Ocean City Police Warning of Donation Scams

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OCEAN CITY, MD – The Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) is warning residents and businesses about a Phishing scheme using email to solicit donations. The initial email appears to come from an individual in a management type position within a private organization, directing the recipient to purchase gift cards and provide the individual with the information on the gift cards.

The email addresses the recipient by name and gives specific directions, such as “after the purchase of the cards, open & scratch the cards. Scan or take snapshot of the back of each card, attach & send to (various charity and email addresses)”.

In some emails it will provide a justification as to why you are taking photos of the gift cards. In other emails, it tells you the exact amount and type of gift card to purchase. Each email has different wording but the same concept.

It is common for these emails to stress that time is of the essence and needs to be done quickly. The sending email address appears to be the actual email of the individual they are posing to be.

If you believe an email is a scam or if it sounds uncharacteristic of the person, do not reply back to the email. Contact the individual in a different manner or in a new email to eliminate the Phishing scam.

With the holiday season upon us, scams become more popular. If an email or phone call/message sounds suspicious, do not exchange money or personal information with them. Check with the individual or business to verify the information that was requested of you.

For more information, or if you have been a victim of a scam, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website at FTC.gov. In addition, victims who have lost money in one of these scams are encouraged to file a report at their local law enforcement agency.

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