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When the Phone Rings...

1/10/17 (Tue)

Growing up in North Dakota, we all remember how exciting it was when the phone rang…yes, the old fashioned telephone.  Because back in the day, the phone didn’t ring often, and we were excited to know who would be calling. Fast forward to caller ID, and we generally know who’s at the other end of the call except the occasional “unknown caller or 800 number.”

Today we are asking you to take serious caution with unknown callers. Recently in a small town in North Dakota, a woman received a call stating she had won a major sweepstakes.  All she had to do was electronically wire the processing fee to an account.  Her better instincts were screaming, “Don’t do it.”  She received a second call, “Hi, I am Kelly Schmidt, the North Dakota Treasurer, and you have won a major sweepstakes. I want you to know that it is legitimate. Yes, you have won! All you have to do is wire our agency $3000 in processing fees to claim your hundreds of thousands in winnings.” 

STOP.  There are a few red flags:

  1. The ND Office of State Treasurer does not call residential homes nor does it deal with sweepstakes or lotteries.If by chance you did buy a lottery ticket, it is up to you to claim your prize. No one will ever call you because lottery tickets are not identified by phone number, name or address.

  2. Why is there a processing fee to claim a prize? It can’t be much of a prize if it needs to be processed.

  3. The third is wiring money. NEVER wire money to an unknown source.If you ever feel the urge to wire money, ask your bank to assist you in validating the recipient’s account. Most banks will caution you and advise against it.

We all can be lured by the sound of big winnings. This woman lost $3,000, and while the case is being investigated, it is highly likely her money will never be retrieved.

This is the first time we have heard of a case where the caller identified themselves as Kelly Schmidt, ND Treasurer. Scammers are getting smarter! A few recommendations for you, as these scammers are continuing to make calls in North Dakota:

  1. Ask them for a phone number where they can be reached and call them back.

  2. Get a street address where their office is located.

  3. Let them know you are validating this information with the police department and the Attorney General’s office.

More than likely they will hang up before you do. The old cliché applies - if it sounds too good to be true…it must not be true.

To learn more visit our website at www.nd.gov/treasurer to find financial literacy resources and detailed fiscal information regarding our State.  Be sure and like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for current information relating to your dollars and our office.