The North Dakota Attorney General’s Office is warning North Dakotas to be aware of price scams circulating in the state.
Recently, a retired Minot-area couple lost over $ 89,000 to a bogus scam, a scheme that not only wiped out their savings but also cost them a bank loan they took out in using their home as collateral.
According to the attorney general’s office, the couple said the scam began several months ago when they received a phone call allegedly from the “California Gaming Commission” telling them they had won a prize of $ 1. , $ 7 million.
The couple have been ordered not to tell anyone about their winnings.
Over the next few weeks, crooks posing as price officials, lawyers, and even a federal judge asked the couple to send warrants and money to cover alleged taxes and fees before the prize money cannot be released.
The amounts ranged from $ 500 to $ 10,000.
Initially, the couple were tasked with sending warrants. They were later told to send money via UPS by inserting invoices between the pages of magazines or books and labeling the packages “legal documents.”
In three months, the couple had sent more than $ 89,000 in “taxes” and “fees” to fraudsters.
As is the case with most scams like this, there is little chance for the couple to get back the money that was cheated on them.
“Sadly, this couple put their future financial security at risk and lost everything,” said North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. “If you are asked to send money to collect a prize, that’s a scam, every time. There are no exceptions to this rule, no matter how convincing or bossy the caller may seem, it is always a lie.
Parrell Grossman, director of the consumer protection division, adds that the price notification scam is one of many so-called “upfront fees” scams that have been circulating in the state in recent years. These scams range from bogus price notifications to bogus warnings from the IRS or Social Security administration.
Grossman offers the following recalls:
- Never send money in response to a phone call. If you suspect this is an actual call, check with the Consumer Protection Division at 701-328-3404 before sending any money.
- If you’re asked to buy gift cards, hide money in packages, or send multiple payments, you know it is a scam.