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December 30, 2016

Media contact - Liz Brocker (701) 328-2213

BISMARCK, ND – Imposter scams were at the top of this year’s Consumer Complaints categories, announced Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

Over one hundred North Dakota residents fell victim to these scams, with individual victims losing thousands of dollars. Included in the “imposter scam” category are the fake IRS calls, the phony grandchild in distress calls, fake sweepstakes and romance scams. The Consumer Protection division has issued numerous warnings about these types of scams.

“It does not seem to matter how many times warnings are issued by this office and local law enforcement agencies, unfortunately, people still respond to the scams and lose money,” said Stenehjem.

The Top Ten consumer complaints for 2016 are:

  1. Imposter Scams (grandparent, romance, IRS scam, sweepstakes, etc) = 105
  2. Identity Theft = 101
  3. Do Not Call violations = 78
  4. Contractor/Home Improvement = 73
  5. Automotive (eg. advertising, extended warranties) = 54
  6. Mail Order problems = 33
  7. Retail = 28
  8. Services = 22
  9. Telephone (cramming, billing errors) = 18
  10. Debt Adjustment/Settlement, Credit Counseling = 10

Parrell Grossman, director of the Consumer Protection division, reminds North Dakotans that scam artists pretend to be people we want to trust, such as government officials, law enforcement, bank staff and even family members. Attorney General Stenehjem offered the following tips:

  • Never give out personal information or send money in response to an unexpected contact, no matter how urgent it may seem.
  • Don't trust your Caller ID. Readily available technology makes it easy to create a fake name and number to display on Caller ID or as the "sender" of a text message.
  • If you are asked to send or wire money, or to buy prepaid cash cards, stop! That’s a sure sign it’s a scam.

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