Finding a $100 bill would make anyone’s day, especially around the holidays. Of course, that happiness wouldn’t last long if someone stole your car as soon as you went to retrieve your newfound treasure.
Apparently, that happened in Maryland. The attorney general’s office is warning residents of a potential theft operation where carjackers are putting $100 bills under cars’ windshield wipers, and when the driver exits the vehicle — car running, door open — to grab it, a thief hops in and drives off, WJLA in Maryland reports.
Karen Straughn, the Maryland assistant attorney general for consumer protection, said a resident told her about such an incident during a public information safety session in Baltimore County, but she hasn’t seen any police reports about such a scam, Straughn told WJLA.
“This is the holiday shopping time. This is when the criminals are going to come out. This is when the scam artists are coming out,”Straughn told WJLA. “They’re trying to get your money and trying to get your safety in any way they can.”
It’s a clever, yet heartless, scam: Most people get excited about finding $5 on the ground, let alone $100. For those who struggle with keeping their spending under control, particularly around this time of year, a gift of $100 may mean a moment free of thinking about budgets or debt. Spending $100 cash, rather than charging something to your credit card, could mean big savings. Small credit card balances can grow at an impressive rate, costing you a lot of money in interest and time it takes to pay off credit card debt. (It should be noted that this scam has cropped up before and may be the continuation of an urban legend of sorts.)
Then there’s the whole someone-stealing-your-car thing — you probably rely on that vehicle to get to work so you can make a living and afford your bills. As previously stated, this scam is notably malicious.
This isn’t to say random acts of kindness don’t happen around the holidays, but if you see a $100 bill on your windshield, consider turning your car off, closing the door and locking it before reaching for the money, just in case.
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