Collection agency posing as law enforcement experts, reports Better Business Bureau

Con artists are now posing as police officers, members of the Sheriff’s Office and even FBI officers. These people call consumers and spoof the caller ID to show a law enforcement office’s phone number.

The con artist tells the consumer that he or she must pay a fine to avoid criminal charges or must immediately pay money owed by a loan. Like most types of fraud, con artists require payments to be made by a prepaid debit card or money order, not a credit card. Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns consumers to avoid paying these people and to call the local police department if they ever receive one of these calls.

People can often be deceived by callers claiming to be from law enforcement agencies, so don’t fall for their tactics. Consumers need to be very skeptical of anyone asking them for money or personal information over the phone and the BBB recommends to not doing it.

A consumer recently received a collection call.

“They kept calling me at work even though I told them not to. They would not give me any written proof of what I owed even though the FTC rules say that they have to. They threatened to call the police and have me arrested. I did make one payment to them before I realized that this was just wrong and they never proved that I owed the money. I filed [a complaint] with the BBB and they eventually stopped.”

The BBB urges consumers to follow these tips when bogus collection calls are received:

  • Don’t wire money. The real police department will never ask for money to be wired over the phone.
  • Don’t give out personal information. Never give out financial or personal information over the phone.
  • Hang up the phone. As much as you may want to keep talking or asking questions to this person over the phone, just hang up. Don’t call this person back again, because that way he or she may be able to track some of your information.
  • Contact your local police department. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a law enforcement officer asking for money, look for your local police department’s number on their website and tell them what happened.

1 Comment

Filed under News You Can Trust

One response to “Collection agency posing as law enforcement experts, reports Better Business Bureau

  1. Mark Burrows

    I would simply tell any such person that if they have my number, they should also have my address and they can show up any time with a warrant for my arrest because I am not going to pay anything.
    If you are truly in debt, it is a chain of events. The creditor first must send you all sorts of overdue, past due and final request before further actions take place notices. Now, most creditors also realize that taking you through the court system is a timely and expensive process from them as it would be for the debtor.
    So, their last resort is to hire the aid of a collection agency and pay them a fee that they calculate would be less than court procedures, but it will not redeem them the full amount of the money owed.
    Now, there are rules to what collection agencies must follow. Now, they can vary from state to state so it would be a good idea to find out what they must abide by in your area.
    For certainty, they must make their first contact by post. Email is not accepted. After that, they can phone you or send more post. They still must not be fraudulent about who they are.
    Keep in mind, you always have the right to dispute the claim and take the collection agency to court because it is no longer the responsibility of the original creditor to collect that amount, it is the collection agency and you have put them on the spot of going through the court system, and if you have documented any of their abusive behavior. It will not go in their favor.
    Still, you should not put yourself into these situations. Learn first to control your spending and learn how to budget your payments.
    If a creditor has given up hope on you, I assure you, you get added to the high risk list for applying for any kind of credit. You don’t want to be there. If you do get into debt, seek debt assistance organizations that will contact each of your creditors and make them a payment schedule that will fit your budget. They can also make offers of buying out the debt in cash at a reduced percentage, which if accepted by all of your creditors, they will help you get a loan for the payout, and monitor you so that you are only making the one payment to loaning financial institute.
    This will free up your debt, and protect your credit standing, until you either have learned to control your habits or screw up again. Then no one will assist you.
    So, to make things simple, do not talk to anyone on the phone unless it is one of two things, someone you know, or someone from a local service like carpet cleaners, yard care and such giving you an earnest pitch. Those it is easy to ask for more information or politely say, “No thank you.”

    Mark Burrows

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