The following has been released by the Better Business Bureau:
According to reports received by BBB, scammers are threatening law suits, property seizure or jail time to intimidate victims into paying money they do not owe.
How the Scam Works:
Consumers receive a phone call or email on their personal account at work, home or on a mobile device. The caller says that he or she works on behalf of a loan company or law firm. They then claim to be collecting overdue payments taken out by your family member or significant other.
If consumers say they do not owe the debt, the caller threatens arrest, court actions or other consequences, such as loss of property or job loss.
Despite the threats, these “debt collectors” don’t have any power over you or anyone else. In most cases, the alleged overdue loan doesn’t even exist. Even if your loved one does owe money, paying the scammers won’t help reduce the debt.
Please remember that all debt collectors must send a valid notice explaining the debt and who it was owed to before they can legally call for collections activity. The notice must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor and a statement of your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If a debt collector won’t provide the information, hang up.
The harsh reality is that every single dollar lost to a scammer equals less money a family has to spend for food, utilities, home repairs and other vital consumer purchases that fuel our local economy. Money stolen by scammers creates a ripple effect in overall consumer purchasing that trickles down to legitimate, honest businesses.
What to Do if You Receive a Harassing Call From a Debt Collector:
- Start with Trust® Check with BBB if you believe you have been contacted by a fake debt collector.
- If you think that a collection call may be a fake, ask for the caller’s name, company, street address, and telephone number. Then, confirm that the collection agency is real.
- Do not provide or confirm any bank account, credit card or other personal information such as a Social Security number over the phone until you have verified the call. Place an alert on consumer credit reports by calling TransUnion Fraud Alert Assistance at (800) 680-7289 if you feel your Social Security number is compromised.
- Check your credit report for by going to annualcreditreport.com. This will help you determine if you have outstanding debts or if there has been suspicious activity under your name.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission if the caller uses threats. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt collections from being abusive, unfair or deceptive.
“Look for the Seal” and Start with Trust®. BBB Serving Acadiana is a private non-profit organization that strives for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.
Please contact Better Business Bureau at bbb.org or (337) 981-3497 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America. Consumers can also sign up for our “Scoop” BBB eNewsletter by visiting bbb.org and clicking on the “Programs & Services” tab.
BBB Serving Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.