Attorney Roy Cooper: These scammers work for themselves, not the government

North Carolinians are getting calls from people who claim to be government agents, using threats of legal action or arrest to try to get them to pay money.  The “Caller ID” information on your telephone may even appear to confirm their claim, and the caller may even give the correct address or department for a real state agency.

In some cases, the callers contact consumers who have fallen behind on a payday loan they took out via the Internet. In other instances, the caller tells the consumer they’ve been caught committing financial fraud. In either case, the caller claims to represent a state agency and threatens that legal papers will be served on the consumer or that they will be arrested within hours if they don’t make a payment. The caller urges the consumer to send the payment by wire service or by purchasing a prepaid debit card and providing the account number.

These scammers are not really from the government. They typically have heavy foreign accents and may work jointly with payday loan websites based in India.

Be very skeptical if someone calls you threatening legal action by the state and demands that you wire money or send money via a prepaid debit card right away. The best way to deal with this or any other high-pressure tactic: simply hang up the phone.

If you spot a scam, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.