BBB warns about phony debt collectors

By Aaron Gilchrist - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A 12 on Your Side Alert about suspicious callers who have social security numbers, bank account numbers and home addresses. The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers that phony debt collectors are armed with information and out to get your money.

The scammers claim to be lawyers with a company you owe money. The BBB believes a data breach somewhere may have given crooks just what they needed to go on the attack.

"They're giving the impression that they are lawyers trying to do this collection and if they don't make a payment today or arrange for payment they'll have them extradited to California," said Tom Gallagher, Richmond Chief of the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB says the scam is nationwide. Con men claiming consumers have defaulted on payday loans and will be arrested if they don't pay immediately. The phony debt collectors often have the victim's social, old bank account or driver's license numbers as well as home addresses, employer information and even friend's names.

"They give you the impression that they know everything about you. And the next thing you know, you're giving them a credit number, your bank account number," Gallagher said.

Gallagher says what information scammers don't have, they talk out of their victims, prodded to pay immediately via wire, credit card or bank draft.

"The consumer, the recipient of the phone call, will think that they've got all kinds of stuff because the guy or the gal on the other line is a pro and they know how to pull information out of you," said Gallagher.

The callers threatens that if the victim doesn't pay right away, he'll be arrested and extradited to California within the hour to stand trial.

"Stuff that just isn't going to happen. We don't want anyone talking to these folks.  If you get a call like that, demand that they mail you the information," Gallagher said.

A real debt collector does have the right to call you when you owe them money. They cannot legally threaten or harass you. You have a right to tell them to stop calling after which point they can begin legal proceedings against you.

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