Government Imposter Phone Scam

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection released the following statement today to warn consumers about a government imposter phone scam:

MADISON – The Consumer Information Hotline at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has received a number of inquiries about a government imposter phone scam. Wisconsin residents statewide are receiving prerecorded calls from “Steve Martin” with the “U.S. Treasury.” If you receive a similar call, hang up immediately and do not call back the number noted in the message.

Unfortunately, this type of government imposter scam is quite common. Scammers will call consumers out of the blue claiming that they are with the IRS, law enforcement or another government agency. The caller will threaten the consumer with arrest or financial penalties for supposedly failing to pay back taxes or unpaid loans, for failing to report for jury duty or for “check fraud.”

If you receive a similar call:

  • Hang up and do not return the call. Federal government agencies don’t ask people to send money for unpaid loans.
  • Remember that scammers can make your caller ID say whatever they choose. Do not trust that the information on your call ID display is legitimate.
  • Never give out personal or banking information on an unsolicited call.
  • There’s no legitimate reason for someone to ask you to wire money or load a rechargeable money card as a way to pay back a debt.
  • If you still feel unsure about the call, look up the official number of the agency the caller is pretending to represent so you can get the real story.

For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at datcp.wisconsin.gov, send an e-mail to datcphotline@wisconsin.gov or call the Consumer Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.

Released Wednesday, November 19, 2014. View the original report here.

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