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IRS scam reported in North Dakota

By Jamestown Sun Staff

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said residents across the state have reported receiving a threatening phone message supposedly from the Internal Revenue Service. The message claims that there is a problem with the IRS and failure to return the call will lead to the individual’s arrest.

“No one wants to get into trouble with the IRS, and that’s what the scam artists are counting on,” Stenehjem said. “They hope that anyone receiving such a message will be intimidated into calling back immediately, and that’s where the scam begins.”

The calls appear to be another variation of the old “phishing” scam, designed to trick people into revealing sensitive personal and financial information such as their Social Security numbers and bank account or credit card information.

Stenehjem noted the real IRS does not notify individuals of a potential problem by leaving them a threatening phone message.

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Stenehjem warned that each time this scam surfaces and warnings are issued, the scam artists simply use the name of a different agency in the hope they can continue to find victims. In previous variations of the phony “enforcement call” phishing scam, the scam artists have pretended to be federal investigators, federal collection agents, and even, in 2009, claimed to be agents from the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Because the calls display a spoofed number, it is almost impossible for law enforcement agencies to track the actual originating telephone number and put a stop to the calls.

Although there are no reports of anyone falling victim to this scam, Parrell Grossman, director of the Consumer Protection Division, said residents who receive such a message should delete it without response. Consumers who have questions or who have responded to the message can call the Consumer Protection division, toll-free at 800-472-2600. ___

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