Financial Scams

Seth Perlman / Associated Press

If you’re e-filing your taxes as next week’s deadline looms, and your return is rejected, you may be the victim of identity theft. The Idaho Tax Commission has already seen cases of fraudulent returns.

Since January, the Idaho Tax Commission has prevented the theft of close to $300,000 in Idaho refunds that were targeted by criminals.

Tawnya Eldredge is the Commission’s identity theft assistance coordinator.

Downtown Boise / Facebook

At least 17 investors who sunk money into a project to convert an old power station near downtown Boise into an event space say they were taken for a ride by a scam artist.

The group of investors claim Jeffrey Jerome took their funds to transform the old brick power station into a cultural venue through his sham business and spent the money to repay debts and personal expenses like his mortgage. The Idaho Statesman reports Jerome raised more than $238,000 for the project.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Attorney General says Western Union has agreed to a settlement that involves a series of scams and more than 2,000 Idahoans.

AG Lawrence Wasden says scams are very active in Idaho right now, and especially affect the elderly. Scammers contact their victims and often pose as relatives or officials from the IRS. They demand payment from the victim in the form of a wire transfer, such as through Western Union.

Wasden found more than 2,000 complaints by Idahoans to Western Union between 2004 and 2015. Victims reported losses of $2.4 million dollars.

Ada County Courthouse Law Court
Lacey Daley / Boise State Public Radio

According to the Ada County Jury Commissioner’s Office, at least one person has fallen victim to a jury duty scam in Boise. County officials say the scam starts with a phone call from someone claiming to be a police officer. The person then is told they’re in contempt of court and owes $1000 for failure to comply and appear for jury duty.

So far, at least one person says they lost $1000 from the scam. He was instructed over the phone to mail a gift card to the person claiming to be an officer.  

Lawrence Wasden
Idaho Public Television

The Idaho Attorney General says two Tennessee-based cancer charities labeled "shams" by the Federal Trade Commission have settled a fraud case.

The joint action by the FTC and all 50 states says James Reynolds, Sr. and others spent donations meant for cancer patients on six-figure salaries and luxury vacations.

The settlement with Reynolds, Cancer Fund of America and Cancer Support Services was filed Wednesday in federal court in Arizona. It must be signed by the judge before it takes effect.

Nicole Mays / Flickr

Federal investigators say that a Tennessee man and his family raised millions of dollars  for cancer patients, then spent the money on cars, luxury cruises, college tuition and to employ family members with six-figure salaries.

Officials say it's one of the largest charity fraud cases ever and involves all 50 states.

swedennewyork / Flickr

A new scam is targeting women in eastern Idaho and the attorney general is warning people not to get involved.

There are reports of two “Women’s Wisdom Circles,” one in Preston and one in Ammon. They're also known as "gifting circles." Deputy Attorney General Brett DeLange says women are recruited to pay, or gift, up to $5,000, with the promise of advancing to the top of the pyramid by recruiting others into the circle. Participants get payments from the people coming into the scheme under them.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr

Con artists are giving new life to an old scam. The Boise Police Department is warning Treasure Valley residents to avoid becoming victims.

The Boise Police Department says scammers are using fear and the threat of arrest to get victims to part with their money. BPD first reported on a version of this scam last November.  Now they say scammers have escalated their efforts to con people out of money.

Here's how the scam works:

Thomas Hawk / Flickr

Close to 6,000 American Indians in Idaho will get a check this week for $1,000. It’s part of a landmark settlement with the federal government over the mismanagement of American Indian land.

Just in time for the holidays, about 300,000 American Indians nationally will receive checks from the $3.4 billion settlement. The settlement is the result of a lawsuit started by Montana Blackfeet woman Elouise Cobell in 1996. Cobell died of cancer during the appeals process in 2011.