Scam Prevention: What to do to help prevent scam artists

When an area resident received a call last week from a scammer saying there was a warrant out for her arrest, she contacted her local law enforcement agency.

The area resident didn’t answer the phone call but the caller left a voicemail saying the IRS had an arrest warrant out for her arrest and her property was under surveillance.

The caller said she must call back right away or she would be arrested and her property seized. The phone ID showed the call came from the West Coast but the caller did not say the resident’s name or leave their name. She went to the local police and filled out a report.

A Minot resident received a similar call last week but this call, according to phone ID, was from the East Coast.

The North Dakota Attorney General’s office provides several simple precautions to help people prevent scam artists from being successful.

Scam artists pretend to be people we want to trust, like government officials, law enforcement, bank staff or even family members;

– Never give out personal information or send money in response to an unexpected contact, no matter how urgent it may seem.

– Don’t trust your Caller ID – it’s not who you think it is. Readily available technology makes it easy to create a fake name and number to display on Caller ID or as the “sender” of a text message.

– If you are asked to send or wire money, or to buy prepaid cash cards, stop! A legitimate government agency or business will never ask you to wire money, buy prepaid cards, or deposit money into another person’s account. As soon as you complete the transaction or read off the numbers from the back of the prepaid card, your money is gone. It is not possible to get that money back.

– Hang up, every time. Don’t “press 1” to be taken off a call list; all it does is confirm that you listened to the message, which will result in more calls.

IRS Enforcement Calls

If you received a message claiming that you owe money on your taxes, just delete it. The IRS has issued several reminders that it will never notify a taxpayer of a potential problem by leaving a threatening message. It doesn’t matter what the message threatens, it is ALWAYS a scam.

The IRS wants to know about these calls. Submit an online report to the U.S. Department of Treasury or email the IRS at

For more information about scam prevention and other types of scams visit the N.D. Attorney General’s Office’s website at, then go to the Consumer Resources Division.