From a Polk County Sheriff's Office press release:
Sheriff Grady Judd is warning residents to be aware of a new scam that the Polk County Sheriff's Office and several other local law enforcement agencies are seeing reported -- a payday loan telephone collection scam.
Scam artists call victims claiming that they are delinquent on a payday loan, and must repay the loan to avoid legal consequences. The scam artists purport to be law enforcement or federal government representatives, or from various law firms and other legitimate-sounding agencies. They claim to be collecting debts for companies such as United Cash Advance, U.S. Cash Advance, U.S. Cash Net, and other Internet check-cashing services.
According to the victims' complaints, the scam artists have accurate data about them, including their Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, employer information, bank account numbers, and the names and telephone numbers of relatives and friends.
How the scammers obtained the personal information varies, but in some cases victims have reported they completed online applications for other loans or credit cards before the calls started.
The scammers relentlessly call the victims' homes, cell phones, and places of employment. They refuse to provide any details about the alleged payday loans and become abusive when questioned. The scammers have threatened victims with legal actions, arrests, and, in some cases, physical violence if they do not pay. In many cases, the callers harass victims’ relatives, friends, and employers.
Scammers have instructed victims to fax a statement agreeing to pay a certain amount, on a specific date, via a pre-paid Visa card. The statement also includes a declaration by the victim that he/she will never dispute the debt.
Here are some tips to help you if you are a victim or think you may be a victim of a scam such as this:
Tips to avoid being a victim of any telephone or email scam:
Check all listings: company names, phone numbers, and addresses, on the Internet placing the words 'SCAM' or 'FRAUD' behind what you are looking for. This will help to determine if others have already reported a similar incident.
Legitimate debt collectors are required to follow federal regulation along with state laws. If you have questions regarding debit collection practices contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov .
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.