AARP and MT Attorney General work to get ahead of scammers

Scammers are constantly figuring out new ways to take your money. It’s a problem the Montana Attorney General’s Office and AARP are trying to get ahead of.

“The scams are going up, they’re more sophisticated because of data breaches. They can look and seem more legitimate because they have some personal information,” Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said.

During a statewide teleconference on Monday, state officials — including Fox and Senator Steve Daines — took questions from callers about scammers.

Fox said the number of scams being reported is going up, “the scams are getting more convincing as criminals use stolen information from corporate data breaches to appear more credible.”

Among the biggest scams are telephone scams where con artists call and say you won money or your computer has a virus and they can fix it. The scammers can even make the calls look like they’re coming from within the state to reduce suspicion.

State officials said it’s best to call them if you suspect you’re being targeted.

“Call the Office of Consumer Protection at the Montana Department of Justice where we have trained investigators and lawyers who can not only give advice as to whether what you’re hearing or seeing is legitimate, but if you’ve been scammed out of something, we can try and help you recover that,” Fox said.

Elaina Summers was a victim of identity theft just two months ago, “somebody had gotten control of my credit card and had started spending on it. 

After a couple thousand dollars in charges, Summers contacted her bank. “the bank helped me. I went in and they told me what I needed to do and I just followed their steps,” she said.

While everything worked out for Summers, Fox said his office won’t rest until scammers are caught.

“These individuals stay up late trying to concoct these ways to defraud Montanans and the Montana Department of Justice stays up late fighting them,” Fox said.

If you suspect you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact the Montana Department of Justice Consumer Protection Office.