A 62-year-old Fargo man nearly lost $47,000 to scammers but was able to escape the fraud, due to help from the North Dakota Attorney General’s office.

“Thanks to the efforts of a dedicated consumer fraud investigator and some good timing, we got lucky,” said Attorney General Wrigley.

The Fargo man fell victim to an “Amazon order” scam in March, after receiving a call supposedly from Amazon wanting to verify a $1,500 order. As soon as the victim said he had not placed the order, the scam artists pretended to transfer him to a federal agency, claiming the federal employee would assist him. Instead, the phony federal employee told the victim that his identity had been used to create several fraudulent accounts and threatened to have him arrested unless he cooperated with the “investigation.” The victim was instructed to wire the money from his bank account to a bank in California to “protect it” while the investigation was ongoing, which he did.

But the man had misgivings almost immediately after wiring the money and called the consumer protection division in the Attorney General’s office. A consumer fraud investigator quickly contacted the receiving bank and got a “fraud hold” placed on the account before the scam artists could remove any money. The consumer protection division worked with the bank for several months, until they were able to get all the money back for the victim.

“Never send money in response to a phone call,” Wrigley emphasized. “I cannot say this enough: if you get a phone call and are instructed to send money – for any reason – hang up immediately. It doesn’t matter what you are told, or who you think you are talking to, it is always a scam.”.

More information about common scams, including the one used on the Fargo man, is on the Consumer Resources page of the Attorney General’s website, www.attorneygeneral.nd.gov.