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Department of Justice Consumer Protection Unit Issues Consumer Alert

Date Posted: Monday, July 6th, 2015
Categories:  Consumer Protection Department of Justice DOJ Press Releases

WILMINGTON, DE – The Consumer Protection Unit of the Delaware Department of Justice is warning Delawareans of a number of scams involving wire transfers and prepaid debit cards.

The message is simple – don’t wire money to anyone who asks you to. Wiring money is like sending cash. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. The same is true for prepaid debit cards. Do not put money on a card at the request of anyone who asks you to. Scammers may try to trick you into doing so using the following scams, so please protect yourself and your money and don’t fall for them:

Scenario #1: A loved one is in jail or otherwise in serious trouble (perhaps while on vacation) and needs you to wire money immediately to help

What you should do:

Stop. Don’t act immediately no matter what the crisis may be and no matter that the scammer appears to know information about your family that no one else could know.

Check with the person who seems to be in trouble at a trusted phone number or email address. If the caller says not to tell anyone or that if you delay then the loved one will suffer some consequence those are signs of a scam.

Don’t send money. If the caller wants money to be wired or a prepaid debt card, you know it’s a scam.

Scenario #2: The sheriff or some other local law enforcement agency is going to arrest you for failing to report for jury duty unless you pay money immediately

What you should do:

Do not wire cash or provide the caller with a prepaid debit card. Scammers can spoof a telephone number on caller ID so that it looks like the call is coming from a legitimate source such as a courthouse or a sheriff’s office – but it’s not. Law enforcement or court personnel never make a call like that.

Stay calm. Don’t let the caller scare you. Note as many details about the call as you can, such as the phone number the caller appears to be calling from and who they claim to be, and end the call.

Call the Consumer Protection hotline at 1-800-220-5424 to report it.

Scenario #3: The IRS is calling because you owe them money and need to pay up

What you should do:

Do not send money or give the caller any personal or financial information. The IRS would contact you by mail, not phone.

Stay calm. Although the caller ID may indicate that the call is coming from the “IRS”, that number is being spoofed. Write down as many details about the call as you can, such as the caller ID number and who they claim to be.

Contact the IRS directly if you are worried that the call is real at 800-829-1040 or go to irs.gov.

Report the call to the following agencies:

• The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at tigta.gov or 800-366-4484.

• The FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or 877-FTC-HELP

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