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March 6, 2015

Earlier this week, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem issued a warning to consumers about the IRS Enforcement Scam. Today, the Consumer Protection division learned the scam artists are trying a new tactic in the hope of convincing consumers that this time, the call is legitimate. Unfortunately, this new tactic has already claimed one victim.

In this new variation, the phony IRS Enforcement agent instructs the victim to purchase a certified cashier’s check directly from their bank, deposit it into another bank account specified by the scammer and then immediately email the deposit transaction receipt to the scam artist. As soon as the scam artists have a copy of the deposit transaction receipt, they can access the account and empty it. Once the scam artist has the money, it is gone.

Attorney General Stenehjem reminds North Dakota consumers:

  • The real IRS does not notify you of a potential problem by leaving a threatening phone message. That’s how you know it is a scam.
  • If you receive a message on your phone, delete it without response. If you pick up the call, don’t respond to the scam artist – just hang up.
  • Never confirm or provide personal information in response to these scam calls.
  • Don’t try to “play along” with the scam artist.

Stenehjem said the scam artists are using spoofed telephone numbers so it is nearly impossible to trace the calls because the number displayed is not the actual number the scam artist is using. Federal authorities believe the calls originate from outside the United States, which puts them beyond the reach of US law enforcement agencies. The scammers use gmail, yahoo, and similar email addresses which can be created and accessed from anywhere in the world.

There is no need to contact the Attorney General’s office to report receiving a fake IRS call. 

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