Beware of the Debt Collector Scam

Rob here with Patriot Privacy and the Self-Reliance Institute.

The other day I warned you about the Court Notice Scam.

I was blown away by how many emails I received thanking me for the warning.

Several folks even wrote me and said they received Court Notice Scam emails in the days immediately before my warning. And one individual told me they received a scam email moments after they read my warning.

I can’t tell you how good it makes me feel when I know that our community is staying safe because of the information we share with one another.

So let’s do it again!

But before we do, let me quickly ask you to check out an article I came across that I think you should see. The article is headlinedFederal Reserve: Aging Baby Boomers Will Crush Stock Prices By 50%and I think it’s a must-read. I shared it with my friends and you may want to share it with your friends and family. Plus, once you’ve read it, you can send me comments by emailing me at[email protected]

OK. Back to the next scam I want to warn you about.

I want you to beware of the Debt Collector Scam. This scam is so popular with crooks right now that several state attorney generals are putting out warnings.

For example, here’s how the State of Colorado is warning residents in a message that is applicable no matter where you live.

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office is warning people to beware of a debt collection scam in which people pose as law enforcement officials or government agencies. Consumer complaints to the Attorney General reveal a sharp increase in Coloradans receiving threatening phone calls and emails from this particular fraudulent debt collector scam. By using personally identifiable information, including Social Security Numbers, the caller attempts to collect on alleged payday loan debt. Complaints about this scam have increased by 1350% between 2013 and 2014.

Fictitious payday lender names being invoked include ACS Inc., ACS Legal Group, Ace Cash Services, Ace Cash Advance, Advance Cash Service and American Cash Advance. The familiarity of these names, along with strong-arm language like “you are in violation of federal banking regulations,” and use of official sounding agencies such as “United States of attorney” and “state investigation department,” are the most common elements found in the complaints.

’These scam artists pretend to be from companies with familiar-sounding names and use high-pressure demands to get people to pay using prepaid money cards,’ explained Colorado Attorney General John Suthers. ‘The caller threatens to report you to the FBI, FTC and even to your employer if you don’t immediately pay up, however, law enforcement and government agencies do not threaten to arrest or prosecute people for their unpaid debt and do not send arrest warrants via email,’ warned Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.

Notice how some the tactics used in the Debt Collector Scam are similar to those we discussed the other day in the Court Notice Scam. And always remember, law enforcement and government agencies do not threaten to arrest or prosecute people for their unpaid debt and do not send arrest warrants via email.”

Here are a few warning signs the Colorado Attorney General’s office lists for spotting the Debt Collector Scam:

  • Threats of arrest or prosecution.
  • Claims of being law enforcement or a government agency.
  • Strong allegation language: “Collateral Check Fraud,” “Theft by Deception.”
  • Typos and grammatical errors: “Court House,” “law suit,” “United Stetes of America.”
  • Requests amount owed be paid via prepaid card or money transfer.
  • Requests for personally identifiable information.
  • Refusal to provide a mailing address.
  • Refusal to mail proof of debt, referred to as a “validation notice.”

And here are a few suggestions for combatting this type of fraud and/or dealing with legitimate debt collectors.

  • Ask anyone identifying themselves as a debt collector for his/her name, company, address, and phone number. (Legitimate debt collectors are required to provide their contact information and the nature of the debt owed.)
  • Refuse to discuss any debt owed until a written “validation notice” is received. (Within five days after you are first contacted, a collection agency is required to send you a written notice. A proper “validation notice” will include the amount of debt, the name of the creditor, and information regarding your rights.)
  • Do not give out any personal information. (Fake debt collectors can use your sensitive information to commit identity theft.)
  • Ask for the original creditor information. (If you believe you may owe a debt, contact your original creditor directly to find out what debt collector, if any, has purchased or may be authorized to collect the debt.)
  • Keep good records. (Retain proof of any debt you may have paid off including documents and correspondence between you and any debt collector as well as record dates and times of conversations.)
  • If you do receive a court order to appear, independently verify that order by contacting the court directly and consider consulting with an attorney.
  • Verify that the debt collector is licensed.
  • Under state and federal laws, debtors have rights that prevent debt collectors from harassing, oppressing or abusing them or any person in connection with the collection of the debt, nor can debt collectors make false or misleading statements.

OK. Remember, I’m using the information from Colorado as an example and because it’s on point.

This scam is taking place all across the country.

Also, this variation of the scam references payday loans. There are other variations that use other types of debt as the underlying reason for the scam.

As I said the other day, it’s looking like 2015 will be the Year of the Scam. So I’m going to keep you warned about what I’m seeing when it comes to the most prevalent scams.

It might be worth keeping a file of these warnings as I send them to you.

And right now I want you to remember to never agree to pay anyone who demands money over the phone. I don’t care how official or convincing they sound.

No legitimate government or law enforcement agency demands immediate payment by phone or email.

And remember, you can always email me at [email protected]

Be safe, secure and free!

Rob Douglas – Former Washington DC Private Detective and Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist

PS – Don’t forget to check outFederal Reserve: Aging Baby Boomers Will Crush Stock Prices By 50%and let me know what you think!

Freedom Writers Publishing
1815 Central Park Dr. #358
Steamboat Springs, CO  80487

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