Minnesota Commerce Department Warns Against Nationwide Robocall Scheme

Minnesota Commerce Department Warns Against Nationwide Robocall Scheme Photo: WDIO

Created: August 19, 2019 09:42 AM

It's becoming an everyday occurance, the dreaded telemarketer phone call. According to a release from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, scammers are using advanced technology to target smartphones, using auto-dialers to reach thousands of phones every minute.


Officials with the Department of Commerce say oftentimes the calls legally advertise local campaigns, charities and sales. Consumers should be aware, however, if you have not given the caller permission to contact you, the call is illegal and likely a scam.

“I recently received three robocalls over the span of two days from numbers I did not recognize,” Deb Knooihuizen, of Stillwater said in the release. Knooihuizen is an investigator at the Minnesota Department of Commerce. “Each pre-recorded message warned me of my social security being compromised and demanded urgent action.”

Phone scammers often use fear tactics to extract money and personal information from victims. Some examples of the fear tactic include threats to shut off utilities or filing a lawsuit against you.

Commerce officials says one of the most popular prerecorded messages comes from imposter federal tax representatives who claim to be from the I.R.S. Now the FTC says there is a new trend, fraudulent calls from Social Security Administration imposters.

“The Department of Commerce will continue to take legal action against robocall scams, but Minnesotans are our best partner in cracking down on these crimes,” Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley said in the release. “I urge consumers to be wary of robocalls. Do not fall victim to a scam. If you think you have been targeted, contact the Department of Commerce.” 

The Minnesota Department of Commerce urges consumers to take precautions against potential robocall scams.

  • If you receive a robocall, hang up the phone. Do not respond to directions leading you to speak to a live operator. If you respond by pressing any number, it will likely lead to more robocalls.
  • The Do Not Call Registry prohibits most callers from contacting registered consumers over the phone, however, while legitimate companies usually honor the registry, scammers tend to disregard it.

Other tips consumers can be aware of:

  • Demand payment, or ask for your bank or credit card information.
  • Ask for social security number.
  • Automated voice
  • Calls come from an outstate phone number.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) maintains the Do Not Call Registry. You may register your home and cell phone numbers by contacting the FTC by email at or by phone at (888) 382-1222.

If you have questions or if you believe you may have been the victim of a scam or fraud, you are encouraged to contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by email at or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota).

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved


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