common / Scam Watch

Imposter Calls from 'U.S. Treasury' Targeting Ohioans

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today warned that Ohio consumers are receiving scam phone calls from individuals pretending to represent the U.S. Treasury.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has received approximately 50 reports of the scam in the last four weeks.

“It can be intimidating to get a call from someone claiming to represent the government and threatening you by demanding immediate payment or personal information,” Attorney General DeWine said. “These kinds of calls are almost always scams. When in doubt, hang up and call a number you know is legitimate. Don’t use the number provided by the caller.”

In one variation of the scam, the consumer receives a call from a phone number with a 323 or 213 (Los Angeles) area code. The caller, “Steve,” claims to be with the U.S. Treasury. He says the consumer owes money for taxes and will be investigated or arrested unless the consumer makes an immediate payment.

The phone number may be “spoofed,” or disguised, to conceal the true origin of the call.

Most consumers do not report losing money to the U.S. Treasury imposter scams, but consumers who respond to the calls may start to receive more unsolicited calls. (By responding to scam calls, consumers reveal that their phone number belongs to a real person.)

On Tuesday, Attorney General DeWine announced that he and 38 other state attorneys general were urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to determine whether phone companies could use call-blocking technology to better protect consumers from unwanted calls and scams.

In their letter to the FCC, the attorneys general asked for a formal opinion on whether phone companies could use call-blocking technology, upon a consumer’s request, to block unsolicited phone calls when the caller appears to be a telemarketer.

Consumers who suspect a scam or unfair business practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.

U.S. Treasury or IRS impersonation scams can be reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at www.tigta.gov or 800-366-4484.-Posted 9.12, 12:30 pm

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