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Montana Officials Warn of Scams During National Consumer Protection Week

Beware of scams during National Consumer Protection Week. (cohdra/morguefile)
Beware of scams during National Consumer Protection Week. (cohdra/morguefile)
March 9, 2016

HELENA, Mont. - You've heard the old adage, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

This is National Consumer Protection Week and Montana's Office of Consumer Protection is putting out a warning on multiple scams that are making the rounds these days.

Attorney General Tim Fox says his office received about 2,500 calls in the past year about potential scams, including many where the caller poses as an IRS agent.

"They're very threatening calls usually, telling Montanans if they don't wire money, give a credit card right away, they're going to be prosecuted for tax fraud or tax evasion," says Fox.

These types of calls are a fraud.

The Internal Revenue Service will always send you an official letter through the mail and the IRS does not call or email asking for payment out of the blue.

Fox says in another common scam, people get a check in the mail, made out to them, for say, $2,500, with instructions to mail back a check for a lesser amount.

"Don't ever agree to deposit a check or wire money," says Fox. "Certainly you don't want to send money to anyone you don't know."

A third type of scam involves a sweepstakes. Callers will tell people they've won a contest, and then ask them to pay a fee in order for the money to be released.

If you've received this type of fraudulent call or letter, please call the Montana Office of Consumer Protection.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - MT