MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- More scams and variations of old scams are still victimizing people across Wisconsin. Sandy Chalmers is with the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. She says some scams are more common than others, but bad people keep trying to rip you off by phone or online. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t end, and we do everything we can to keep the public informed about what’s going on out there, so they know how to best protect themselves.”
Common scams this year include phone calls or emails telling victims they have a court date that was missed and they need to send money to pay the fine. Another common scam is emails and flyers telling people they need to send about $85.00 for a copy of their property deed... which they can get cheaper at the county Register of Deeds Office. Chalmers says the most prevalent scam this year is where a caller claims to work for the Internal Revenue Service. “People report getting a call from someone who claims to be an IRS agent, usually saying that you owe us money and explaining how to make a payment. Now, there’s a new twist where they say we need to give you a refund and all we need is your bank account number so we can make the deposit. Well, obviously, that’s not how the IRS provides refunds.”
Chalmers advice is simple. If it sounds like a scam, it probably is. She says any phone call or email that comes from out of the blue can not be trusted. “There are so many of these telephone scams right now, you really have to be vigilant, and anytime you’re asked for financial information, personal information, or asked to wire money, it’s a scam.” She says, “If you ever receive a phone call and have any question about whether it’s legitimate, then you place a call to someone who should have the answer, and don’t respond to a call out of the blue by sending money.”
Anyone that receives suspicious phone calls or emails should hang up the phone, not open email attachments, and contact the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection to report the incident.
Their phone number is 800-422-7128 or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.