We heard yesterday about a new scam that is circulating the country, and it made us immediately concerned. At least one person has already lost her life savings! Once again, this one uses us — the Oregon Department of Justice — to try to scam its targets out of their hard-earned money. So, please keep reading…
The scam is designed to get you to think you are a victim of identity theft. In fact, you are not! But you may soon be if you follow their instructions, which are aimed at getting access to your social security number, bank and retirement accounts, and other personal records.
At first glance, the documents the scammers use appear to be official: They have an Oregon Department of Justice seal, an Oregon Department of Justice address, and references to what look like real Oregon state criminal laws. The truth is that they are fakes!
Here’s some of what we have learned about how the scam works: the target of the scam receives a phone call from a man claiming to work for a federal agency-a fake government agent! He tells her that somebody has stolen her identity and is trying to break into her bank account. In order to keep her bank account safe, the target of the scam is told she needs to wire all of her funds to another account in a foreign country. She is sent wire transfer instructions and told she needs to complete two documents from the Oregon Department of Justice and mail them to the address of the Department of Justice in Portland listed on the documents.
“These documents are fake.” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “If someone calls you claiming to be a government official, says there is some sort of emergency, and asks you to transfer or wire funds, he is a fake government agent. Just hang up the phone! It is a scam!”
How to protect yourself:
Government officials will never call you and ask you to transfer or wire money. Most importantly, the Oregon Department of Justice will never ask you to complete forms that ask for bank accounts, Social Security numbers or other very personal data like this.
Once money has been wired overseas, it is very difficult to recover. Please help us spread the word.
If you think you have fallen victim to this scam, contact the Oregon Department of Justice online at www.oregonconsumer.gov or by phone at 1-877-877-9392.