HELENA – No one sets out to get scammed, but sometimes it happens before you know it. MTN News reviews some of the most important tips to avoid losing money in this Fraud Watch report.

Scammers will come after you and your money in many different ways — in the mail, via email and even over the phone. Scammers will sometimes pose as the IRS, spoof your caller ID and say you’re in trouble.

“This is Jimmy Carter from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, this call is to notify you about a legal case which has been filed against your name and your physical address is under the federal investigation. Your case file is CF-100122. To get more information, you can get back to me on my number 981-285-7105,” is a good example of one of the calls that folks receive.

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“They’re never going to email you, they’ll never ask for a payment via wire transfer or credit card over the phone,” said Montana Office of Consumer Protection investigator Ryan Sullivan. “The IRS will contact you via mail, so you’re going to get something in the mail that’s signed and notarized by the IRS.”

We’ve looked at social media scams, jury duty scams, door to door scams and more — but there have been some common themes through them all.

“If you think that it’s suspicious, or you don’t trust the person, end the conversation,” said Montana Office of Consumer Protestion investigator Marcus Meyer.

This year more than 140 million Americans were impacted after the Equifax data breach. Office of Consumer Protection chief Mark Mattioli says this large breach is a good reminder for everyone to stay vigilant.

“People really have to develop the habit, the old fashion habit of looking at your financial records, look at your bank statements, your credit card statements and getting a credit report frequently,” Mattioli said.

So whether it’s online dating, overpayment — or any other type of scam — trust your own judgement. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Sullivan advised.

Click here to visit the Montana Office of Consumer Protection website where they track various scams making the rounds in Montana.

– Mikenzie Frost & Dennis Carlson/MTN News

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