Aged in city are believed to be target of a scheme

January 24, 2009|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,

Baltimore officials warned residents yesterday about a scheme they believe targets the elderly, saying that a 96-year-old city resident was conned out of hundreds of dollars by a woman posing as a city employee who demanded payment of back property taxes.

According to police, a woman with a blocked phone number called the 96-year-old claiming that back taxes were owed.

She warned that the sheriff's department would take the elderly woman's West Baltimore home.

Legitimate city tax bills arrive in the mail, officials said.

The suspect, posing as a tax collector, made an appointment and arrived at the elderly woman's house in the 1200 block of Oakhurst Place on Thursday and took $338, Moses said.

The 96-year-old's children learned about the incident and called city police about 9:30 p.m. Thursday.

"In times like these, desperate individuals stoop to these low levels," said John Stewart, the director of the Commission on Aging and Retirement at a City Hall news conference about the scam.

He believes the con artist is focused on older residents because they tend to be alone and will welcome visitors into their homes.

The swindle has been run once as far as authorities know, but anyone who believes that they have been the target of a similar scheme should call 911.

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