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June 5, 2018

Media Contact: Liz Brocker (701) 328-2213

BISMARCK, ND – Scam artists left a recorded message for Governor Burgum yesterday evening. Scam artists use auto-dialers to place thousands of scam calls every day. The auto-dialer calls strings of numbers until an answering machine picks up, then it automatically leaves the prerecorded scam message. The scammers left a “Fake IRS” recorded message for Governor Burgum, threatening “immediate arrest” on  supposed “federal warrants” unless the call was returned within “twenty-four working hours.” The Governor recognized the message as a “Fake IRS” scam call and his staff notified the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection division.

“Although the ‘fake IRS call’ scam has been around for several years and my office has issued many warnings, this scam is still finding victims in North Dakota,” said Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who received the same scam message at home a few weeks ago.

Earlier this year, a Bismarck man who responded to the call lost more than $21,000. The victim reported that the scammers kept him on the phone for hours, directing him to go to multiple stores and purchase dozens of Google Play cards, then read off the numbers from the back of the cards. The victim reported that the supposed federal officers threatened if he hung up before the total was paid, he’d be immediately arrested. Once the scam artists had the numbers off the Google Play cards, they were able to log on and empty the card while the victim was still on the phone. The victim did not realize he had fallen for a scam until several days later when he was telling a friend about his experience.

The consumer protection division received another report yesterday from a young woman in Grand Forks who lost $6,000 to the scam.

“If you receive a recorded message threatening you with immediate arrest, please hit delete immediately. Then tell your friends about this scam, so they know to ignore it, too,” recommended Stenehjem.

The real IRS is tracking these calls. North Dakotans who receive a fake IRS scam call can report it to the IRS by emailing phishing@irs.gov or completing an online report.

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LISTEN to examples of these scam recorded messages:



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