BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — The elderly are vulnerable members of our community and are often the target of scams, but they are not the only ones at risk.
Scam artists from across the world are targeting and exploiting “North Dakota nice,” according to a release from the state’s Attorney General’s Office.
“‘North Dakota nice’ is often this perception that because we’re so nice, we’re more vulnerable to scams and I don’t know that that’s actually true but maybe it’s more difficult sometimes for consumers to hang up the telephone or disengage,” said Director of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division Parrell Grossman.
It does not matter if you consider yourself intelligent, sophisticated, old or young, Grossman said scams can happen to anyone.
“Scams do not only impact the elderly, we find victims that some less sophisticated some more sophisticated, but all, unfortunately, are willing to be involved in the scam because they have been tricked into doing so,” said Grossman.
Cryptocurrency scams are the “new thing.”
Grossman said once the victim has withdrawn the money requested by the scammer, it can be difficult getting it back — especially through digital currency.
“And they often go to a cryptocurrency or a bitcoin machine and they immediately transfer those funds to the scammer. It’s a fairly easy process; the scammer walks the victim through that process on how to convert that money giving them instructions, nothing is written down and when the consumer has finished the transaction that the cryptocurrency or bitcoin machine, they have no record of what they have done,” said Grossman.
Grossman added we are seeing a rise in computer technician scams because everybody is on their iPad, phones or some other personal device 24/7.
Suddenly, a pop-up will show up saying the device has a virus, but that is simply not true.
And specifically here in North Dakota, there is another trending scam happening more and more.
“There is a U.S. Custom and Border Protection scam on the rise where they will contact consumers and pose as law-enforcement officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and they will say that some package has been seized in your name or they have some diplomatic pouch for you and then they will ask you for money,” Grossman said.
In the year 2021, the Attorney General’s Office had 201 victims that reported to the Consumer Protection Division that they lost $4.9 million to almost $5 million to these exact scams.
If you receive any of these types of calls, emails or messages, simply hang up or delete them. Do not click or engage.
For information on how to recognize a scam, visit https://attorneygeneral.nd.gov/consumer-resources/common-scams.