There have been a spate of reports recently concerning unsolicited phone calls from people claiming to be collecting on a debt. The scammers attempt to scare, pressure, and threaten their victims into making payments on debts they don’t owe or giving away confidential personal information, which can lead to identity theft.
Those contacted by the crooks have been told that they owe some debt that must be paid immediately. The high-pressure situation is made worse when the scammer threatens to “press charges” unless the money is wired quickly; i.e., before the victim can think over the situation.
It is a scary scenario to imagine: After finishing dinner, you ease into your sofa for a bit of television before bed when the phone rings. On the other end is a stranger using obscene language to inform you that you are about to be arrested for not paying back a loan you can’t even remember taking out.
What should you do?
First off: Relax. Getting stressed out and making fast decisions is exactly what scam artists want you to do. Get the contact information of the caller, including whom they work for and the exact details of the amount you are purported to owe. Tell them you will consult your records and call them back.
Next try checking their claims. This means consulting your records to ensure you don’t owe them any money from unpaid loans or whatever they are claiming. Next, do some research on the business they work for. Check BBB.org to see if there are any complaints about them. If it appears they aren’t a legitimate business or if they are trying to make you pay something you don’t owe, you should contact the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and local law enforcement.