Attorney General Scott Pruitt Wednesday issued a scam warning after Oklahoma residents received telephone calls from scammers claiming residents needed to pay their tax debt now to help the government operate during the shutdown.

The AG's Public Protection Unit reported receiving a complaint from a consumer who was defrauded into giving $2,500.

"Oklahomans need to be aware of criminals who will use any situation to take advantage of consumers," Pruitt said. "Prevention is important to keep consumers from becoming victims of fraud."

Tips to avoid becoming a victim of a telephone scam include:

• Try to verify the caller's identity as well as the company they represent;

• Don't provide personal or financial information unless you have initiated the call to a verified reputable person, business or government entity;

• Never send money through a wire transfer or other means unless you are sending to a close friend or family member;

• Don't feel pressured to give information or send money quickly.

One of the best ways to fight scams and prevent others from becoming victims is to report such calls to local authorities and to the AG's Office immediately.

If you have received one of these calls or have a question about a possible scam, contact the AG's Public Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029, (918) 581-2885, e-mail or file a complaint online at

The Public Protection Unit protects vulnerable consumers from fraudulent, unfair or deceptive business practices and can provide conciliation services to help resolve complaints against businesses.