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DOJ’s OCP Receiving Reports Of Scam

Scammers are attempting to trick Montanans into giving out their personal information including social security numbers and bank account information by offering fake remote work opportunities, Attorney General Austin Knudsen warned last week.

The scammers are reaching out to Montanans through social media platforms, primarily on Facebook and LinkedIn, pretending to be legitimate companies looking to hire people for remote work in a wide variety of fields including data processing and payroll. After an initial interview process, the fraudsters will ask for social security numbers, bank account or PayPal information, and other personal identifying information. This information can be used to steal the identity of victims or to steal money from them outright.

The fake company also promises a job and then sends a check to the applicant for upfront equipment costs for more than the employee needs and instructs them to send the rest back to the company or make equipment payments through bitcoin machines. After a few days the bank will inform the applicant that the checks are fraudulent, and the applicant is responsible for covering the check amount.

“Please remain vigilant and don’t trust anyone who reaches out and offers you a job via social media without verifying it is a legitimate offer,” Knudsen said. “Scammers will continue to find new ways to prey on Montanans and steal their hard-earned money. Meanwhile, my Office of Consumer Protection will continue to do everything they can to protect and warn individuals. If you have any question about whether or not you are being scammed, call us immediately.”

The Montana Department of Justice’s Office of Consumer Protection offered the following warning signs that a remote work opportunity might be a scam: A company reaching out directly through social media.

Employment through an overseas company.

Quick interviews or no interviews at all. Communication through e-mail or text only and never seeing a real person.

Providing Social Security numbers and other personal information to secure an interview.

A check for equipment and upfront costs and returning the balance to the company.

Payment for equipment and upfront costs through bitcoin machines.

If you have any questions or feel you may have been or are being scammed, please contact the Montana Office of Consumer Protection at 406-444-4500 or file a report online at

Last year, OCP fielded 974 scam complaints and successfully saved Montanans from losing nearly $900,000, including $712,884 that was recovered for Montanans who were victimized by scammers and $168,020 in prevented loss for consumers who called inquiring about whether they were being scammed.

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