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Stenehjem: Scammers are out there, to take advantage of pandemic


North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said during the Coronavirus outbreak, scammers are also out there, hoping to take advantage of people already on edge because of the pandemic.

Stenehjem told reporters one of the newest scams has to do with the forthcoming federal assistance checks individuals will be receiving from the federal government.

"These scams are claiming that you need to pay a fee, and submit certain information, in order to get your check," Stenehjem said. "Or this can help speed things along."

Stenehjem said each and every one of those will ask you to pay something.

"None of that is happening," Stenehjem said. He said you will either get a check, or the money will be deposited in your bank account.

"Publishers Clearing House scam"

Stenehjem said scammers are targeting the state’s vulnerable population, who are at home alone. He said one making the rounds is ostensibly from Publishers Clearing House.

"What happens is they call, they say 'Here's your secret number -- call us back, give us that number, and we will send you a check,'" Stenehjem said. "When they do call they are told there's a fee or expense, some sum of money taht has to be paid in order to acquire your winnings. They're all scams."

Stenehjem said one woman had paid $9,450 to a scam artist who claimed she had won the Publishers clearing House grand prize – and she was about to pay another sum, when she heard through the media that this was a scam. He said normally, that woman would not be able to get that money back.

"We contacted the sheriff down in Texas, where she had mailed the check," Stenehjem said. "The sheriff went out to the house, got the envelope with the check in it, and the lady is going to get her money back."

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