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North Dakota scam victim gets $47K returned

A 62-year-old Fargo man fell victim to an “Amazon order” scam, after receiving a call in March supposedly from Amazon wanting to verify a $1,500 order.

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FARGO — The consumer protection division of the North Dakota Attorney General's Office recently recovered $47,000 that a Fargo scam victim had wired to a fraudster.

"Thanks to the efforts of a dedicated consumer fraud investigator and some good timing, we got lucky," Attorney General Drew Wrigley said in a statement.

According to Wrigley's office:

A 62-year-old Fargo man fell victim to an “Amazon order” scam, after receiving a call in March supposedly from Amazon wanting to verify a $1,500 order.

As soon as the victim said he had not placed the order, the scam artists pretended to transfer him to a federal agency, claiming a federal employee would assist him.

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Instead, the phony federal employee told the victim that his identity had been used to create several fraudulent accounts and threatened to have him arrested unless he cooperated with the “investigation.”

The victim was instructed to wire money in his bank account to a bank in California to protect it while the investigation was ongoing, which he did.

The man had misgivings almost immediately after wiring the money and called the consumer protection division.

A consumer fraud investigator quickly contacted the receiving bank and got a “fraud hold” placed on the account before the scam artists could remove any money.

The consumer protection division worked with the bank for several months, until they were able to get all the money back for the victim.

“Never send money in response to a phone call. I cannot say this enough: if you get a phone call and are instructed to send money — for any reason — hang up immediately. It doesn’t matter what you are told, or who you think you are talking to, it is always a scam,” Wrigley said.

Information about common scams, including “imposter” scams like this one, can be found on the consumer resources page of the attorney general’s office website at: www.attorneygeneral.nd.gov .

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