Media contact: Liz Brocker (701) 328-2213
BISMARCK, ND - Attorney General Stenehjem is warning North Dakotans of a recent increase in the number of people reporting scam calls claiming that their social security number had been compromised. Unfortunately, several people have fallen victim to the scam.
The scam artists claim to be federal agents “warning” that the individual’s social security number has been compromised or linked to a crime and they could be arrested if they do not comply with the “agent’s” instructions. The “agent” informed them that to correct the problem and avoid arrest, they needed to purchase pre-paid cards and provide the number from the back of the card to the case agent, who would use that information to verify the victim’s identity. Once the identity was verified, the so-called agent promised to deliver a refund check and a new social security card.
“It doesn’t matter who you think the call is from or what reason they give, if you are instructed to purchase prepaid cards or gift cards, or to send money, you know it is a scam, every single time,” warned Stenehjem. “Prepaid cards are the same as instant cash. Once a scammer has the numbers on the back of the card, they can go online and clear the money off the card while you are still on the phone.”
One recent victim lost $1,000 in Target gift cards. The scammer claimed to be an FBI agent and told her that her information was used to open multiple bank accounts and that these new accounts were linked to illegal drug sales. She was told all accounts in her name, including her real bank account, were going to be frozen and she should buy Target cards to “store” her bank balance until the situation was resolved.
Some people reported receiving recordings with instructions to call back a specific number and enter their social security number or to press 1 to be connected to a person, while others received live calls.
“Never enter or give out your social security number or provide any personal or account information in response such a call,” said Parrell Grossman, director of the Consumer Protection division.
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