Why you shouldn't reach for that $100 bill on your windshield

A $100 bill on a car windshield. (WJLA photo)

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Md. (WJLA) – The Maryland attorney general opened a new satellite office Wednesday to serve consumers in Prince George’s County, but leaders hope you’ll never need it.

In a frightening scam that’s popping up this holiday season, scammers can do more than just take your money.

It looks like a surprise holiday gift from a stranger—a crisp $100 bill left on your car.

“$100 looks good to a lot of people, so they probably would jump out and get it,” said shopper Michelle Giles.

That’s exactly what scammers are counting on.

“We don’t want to scare people, but we do want you to be careful,” said Asst. Attorney General – Consumer Protection Karen Straughn.

Straughn says what looks like a present is really a parking lot ploy.

“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,” she said. “They’re trying to get your money and trying to get your safety in any way they can.”

7 On Your Side discovered scammers are taking an alarming approach. The Attorney General’s Office says it has gotten reports of scammers in Maryland leaving $100 bills on windshields. The lure of cash is used to carjack victims. With your car running and the door wide open, that’s all scammers need. The money on the windshield just gives them a split second of opportunity.

“It’s sad that people have to stoop to that kind of level, especially around this time of year,” said shopper Lorie Davia.

The holiday season leaves many shoppers open to scams. The Attorney General’s Office is also warning of another plot where a scammer cried for help in a parking lot.

“We learned that the individual who was yelling for help was really just a scam artist who was looking to kidnap her,” Straughn said.

“It just lets me know that maybe I need to be more cautious with my actions,” said shopper Lisa Prue.