Scammers posing as gov’t officials in attempt to con people out of money, using 773 area code number
From the Office of the Illinois Attorney General
CHICAGO — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today alerted Illinois residents to a phone scam in which callers pose as representatives of the Attorney General’s office in an attempt to con people into sending money on supposed unpaid fines.
Madigan’s office has received several complaints this week from people who have been contacted by scammers pretending to be officials representing the Illinois Attorney General with bogus claims that the call recipients have warrants out for their arrest. Call recipients, some of whom received multiple calls, are told they will be arrested if they do not pay the fines within 30 minutes.
The phone scams “spoof” caller ID devices into displaying what appear to be legitimate calls from the 773 area code in the Chicago area. Scam artists on the other end of the line claim they are representatives of the Illinois Attorney General collecting on a phony debt and instruct their targets to contact the caller within 30 minutes to make payment arrangements in order to avoid arrest by local authorities.
“Someone calling you to demand money upfront is the hallmark of a phone scam, especially if the caller claims to represent a legitimate government agency. My office will never contact you seeking money or threatening your arrest,” Madigan said. “If you receive a call like this, hang up immediately.”
Madigan said this scam is the latest version of what the Federal Trade Commission has termed a “government imposter scam.”
Last June, Madigan’s office received complaints of a similar scheme from Illinois residents who had received phony emails from scammers posing as representatives of the Attorney General’s office, claiming the targets owed outstanding debts and could face potential prosecution if they didn’t pay up.
In August 2014, Madigan’s office issued an alert after receiving complaints from Illinois residents who had received calls from scammers claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service.
Regardless of the tactics in the individual scheme, the goal is always to get the targets to send money. Madigan urged Illinois residents who receive calls or emails from supposed government agencies to hang up or delete the email and contact the government agency directly to report the correspondence.
Madigan urged Illinois residents to report the scam to her Consumer Fraud Bureau at 1-800-386-5438 or by visiting her website.