Debt collection has never been a savory business but new debt collection scams don’t make the landscape any better. The Arizona Attorney General reported a new debt collection scam this week. This one seems to be a phishing scam.
Attorney General Tom Horne’s office says many people have received collections calls from fake law firms or fake government agencies telling them they owe money to a payday loan company and threaten consumers with legal action. They frequently ask the consumer to give their bank account information to pay off the outstanding debt and may supply partial Social Security numbers or dates of birth to get sensitive information.
Our warning about not giving out your information seems unneeded, but maybe not.
Caller ID scams made the news recently. It is illegal to disguise a caller ID, but not illegal to show the ID as “withheld”. Scam artists increasingly are tapping into a growing trend by telemarketers to disguise their real identity and phone numbers by using computer software that enables them to generate a false caller ID.
This scam also works locally, where a caller shows a caller ID from Washington DC, for instance, but is parked at the end of the block, calling from a local telephone number. This scam was once used by subprime and predatory lenders. “In the next few days you will receive information in your mailbox….”
When the unsuspecting consumer checks their mail – human nature is wonderful – the bill collector drives up and intimidates the borrower.
Ironically this is the opposite of the sheriff or police department calling criminals with warrants, and arresting them when they attempt to claim their prize.