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Post date: February 11 2015

A.G. Schneiderman Warns Consumers That A Scammer Is Posing As Official From Attorney General's Buffalo Regional Office

Scammer Even Provides Address Of Buffalo Office In Fraudulent Appeal

BUFFALO – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office has been alerted to a scam involving individuals posing as representatives of his Buffalo regional office. At least six consumers contacted the Attorney General’s Office yesterday to report the fraudulent calls, a spike that suggests the calls may be active and widespread. The scammer is threatening consumers with a lawsuit and possible arrest over supposed debts the office is trying to collect, and even provides the real address of the Attorney General’s Buffalo Office in the phone appeal. This scam mirrors a similar one the Attorney General’s Office was alerted to in Syracuse two weeks ago. 

“Consumers in Buffalo and across New York State should know that my office will never make threatening or harassing phone calls and they should refrain from providing sensitive personal information to unsolicited callers,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “The use of threats and intimidation are common scare tactics used by scammers, often based overseas, and consumers should simply hang up the phone.” 

Attorney General Schneiderman warns that this particular call is a fake and has no connection to the Attorney General’s Office. Consumers should not return similar voicemail messages. Scammers frequently try to scare their victims into giving up personal information and money by claiming to be official government agencies threatening arrest or lawsuits. Scammers often target immigrant communities and threaten victims with deportation or arrest. 

Tips for Consumers to Avoid Telephone Scams 

Think Of The Telephone As A “One Way Street” 

It’s okay to give out information over the phone if you made the call to a number you know and trust (such as your own bank). However, never give out personal information when you receive an unsolicited call. If you receive a call soliciting personal information, just hang up the phone, no matter what the caller ID says. If the caller says he’s from your bank and is checking on possible unauthorized withdrawals from your account, hang up the phone and then call your bank. If it was your bank that was trying to call, then it will be happy to confirm the call and will often provide requests to you in writing. If your bank says it wasn’t trying to reach you, that means the caller you hung up on was a scammer.

Beware If A Caller Ask To Keep A Conversation A Secret

A legitimate caller will never request that a conversation remain a secret, and you should immediately be suspicious. Whether the caller claims to be from the government, a bank, or a family member, requests for confidentiality should raise a red flag.

Just Say No!

You don’t have to be polite when you receive unsolicited phone calls. The safest thing to do is to say “no” and hang up. Legitimate callers will typically also provide requests in writing. It is better to be guarded than to fall victim.

Remember the old adage: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Be wary of any offers or deals that sound too good to be true, as they likely are too good to be true.

Individuals should contact the Federal Trade Commission to report such solicitations at (877) FTC-HELP or www.ftc.gov. To report any type of telemarketing fraud, consumers can contact the Attorney General’s Office at (800) 771-7755or www.ag.ny.gov