Beware scammers posing as government officials

OREGON — The Oregon Department of Justice released a statement on Aug. 24 about a scam that is circulating the country.

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 personal data, such as this.

Once money has been wired overseas, it is difficult to recover.

If you think you have fallen victim to this scam, contact the Oregon Department of Justice online at www.oregonconsume... "> www.oregonconsume... or by phone at 1-877-877-9392.

At least one person has already lost her life savings, according to the news release.

The scam is designed to get an individual to think he or she is a victim of identity theft.

The instructions given are aimed at getting access to an individual’s 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.

According to release, the target of the scam receives a phone call from a man claiming to work for a federal agency. 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.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in the release that if someone calls “claiming to be a government official, says there is some sort of emergency, and asks you to transfer or wire funds,” that person is not a government agent.

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