(Note: Betty Sexton is on vacation; Shannon Brinias is the author)
A warning is out from Colorado’s Attorney General letting consumers know about a scam involving phony debt-collection calls. AG John Suthers says the calls are most likely coming from overseas.
The callers say the person answering the phone has a supposed payday loan that they’re due to pay back. The scammers are using threatening tactics, sometimes, and have even mentioned the Office of the Attorney General, or the Attorney General’s name to swindle people out of cash.
According to reports that have come in to Suthers’ office, the phony debt collectors often threaten the would-be victims with legal action if they don’t make immediate payments on the loans. They also mention that they’re an “officer”, and have basic information about the person they’re calling, including names, addresses, and the last 4-digits of their social security numbers.
That kind of information would be unsettling to the average consumer, and might trick them into handing over financial information or make payment arrangements.
Suthers said, “Consumers should not hesitate to report any instances of debt-related fraud or threats to my office as well as local authorities.”
Now, there are several company names that the callers are citing. Below is a list of some of them:
If you feel like you’re being contacted by a debt collector without justification, there are some things you can do to protect yourself.
If you’re threatened in any way, hang up and file a complaint with the AG’s office. Ditto, if the collection agent says no to providing you with a record of the debt. If you dispute a debt with a collection agency and you’re within certain time requirements, the collection agency must provide some proof that you owe the debt before they can call you again. And if you’d like to have a collection agency stop calling you at work or home, send a letter to the agency. A phone call isn’t enough.
There are other rules guiding contact between consumers and debt-collectors. For more on that, go to www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov, or you can call 303-866-5304.
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