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Updated: Scammers use government shutdown fear on Oklahomans


OKLAHOMA CITY — The Attorney General’s Public Protection Unit is warning Oklahomans about a phone scam that orders residents to pay their tax debt now to help the government continue to operate.

This shutdown scare tactic has already worked on one person who sent the scammers nearly $2,500. Officials say the callers ask victims to wire them money, or purchase a prepaid Green Dot card.

Dave McCurley of Moore knew something was suspicious immediately.

“I’ve never owed back taxes in my life,” he said. “And I knew something was up because they had called my cell phone.”

One Tulsa woman who called the AG’s office said the scammers had her stay on the phone while she drove to a store to purchase a Green Dot card.

When store employees told the woman she was possibly being scammed, she hung up. 

However, she soon received another call from a person pretending to be with the Tulsa Police Department and wanting to know her location.

The AG’s office says that woman could have been in danger.

“Once they found out that she wasn’t going to wire the money, or send the money to them, (they might) at least try to find her location so that they could rob her if she had the cash on her at the time,” AG’s Public Protection Unit Chief Julie Bays said.

McCurley didn’t fall for the scam, and says he now realizes why crooks often target senior citizens.

“The older we get, we don’t react as fast as did when we were younger,” he said. “(We’re) more trusting and less likely to grasp right away that it’s not a true thing.”

It’s not clear if the scam is local or originating from another country.

Anyone who has received one of these phone calls should contact the AG’s Public Protection Unit at 405-521-2029.