Scam Calls Persist, Spike in Recent Months

Scammers are continuing to call people around the state and our area and threatening to arrest them or disconnect utilities if a payment is not made. Scammers pretending to be from the IRS, WPS, or even a local sheriff’s department are continuing to barrage local residents with threatening phone calls. They even disguise themselves by faking calls from the actual numbers connected to the agencies to make it seem more legitimate. 

We’ve obtained a voicemail left by one of the callers that says “and once it’s expired after that you will be taken into custody by the local cops as there are four serious allegations pressed on your name at this moment. We would request you get back to us so that we can discuss about this case before taking any legal action against you.”

Department of Ag, Trade, and Consumer Protection Director Michelle Reinen reminds everyone that any call demanding money or threatening arrest is not likely coming from a legitimate source. Reinen says “governments, utility companies, they do not make phone calls and demand payment. But we’ve seen a drastic increase during the month of August and this first part of September where we are spiking on every record we have as it relates to the number of consumers letting us know they’re receiving these phone calls.”

Reinen also tells us she knows the alerts are working after “we heard from a television station that scammers actually contacted
them and said ‘stop issuing these alerts because they’re starting to cut into
our payments’ – and they threatened the television station. So we know these
consumer alerts are working and consumers are paying attention. But we have to
keep the conversation going.”

Anyone who receives a call like this should hang up immediately – then look up the agency’s actual number to call and report the scam.