North Dakota attorney general warns of scamAttorney General Wayne Stenehjem is reminding North Dakotans not to give out personal or financial information over the telephone in response to unsolicited calls.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem is reminding North Dakotans not to give out personal or financial information over the telephone in response to unsolicited calls.
The Consumer Protection Division has received several reports recently from senior citizens who received telephone calls regarding supposed updates to their medical discount plan cards.
The scam artist then asks for the consumer’s bank account or routing number in order to process the “update.”
Some reports indicate that the scam artists claimed to represent a familiar organization or government program, perhaps in an effort to appear legitimate.
“North Dakotans should be aware that these are not legitimate phone calls,” Stenehjem said in a press release. “No legitimate organization or program will telephone you to obtain your bank account information because they already have the information from when you opened the account or started receiving the service.”
These types of unsolicited phone calls are phishing scams, designed to trick unsuspecting victims into giving the scam artists access to bank or credit card accounts.
The scam artist may already have some personal information about their victims (name, address, etc.), often gleaned from public sources such as telephone books. Once the crook has the bank account or credit card number, he or she can steal money directly from the victim’s account.
Parrell Grossman, director of the Consumer Protection Division, offers the following tips to avoid falling prey to phishing scams:
* Don’t answer the phone if the number is unavailable, originates from an unknown or private party or if you otherwise do not recognize the phone number. If the call is important, they’ll leave a message.
* Never respond to an email from someone seeking your personal information. No matter how authentic it may look or sound, promptly delete it.
* Do not click on links embedded in an email from someone you don’t know. These links may contain viruses or malware designed to steal your personal information.
For information about legitimate discount medical plans, contact the federal government’s Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-800-233-1737. For information about health insurance plans in North Dakota, contact Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm’s office at 1-888-575-6611.