PCSO: residents take caution, payday loan telephone collection scam | Crime
Polk County, Florida-- Sheriff Grady Judd currently warns residents to be aware of a new payday loan telephone collection scam taking place throughout the county.
According to PCSO, scam artists call victims and tell them they are delinquent on a payday loan, and must repay the loan to avoid legal consequences. The scam artists claim to be law enforcement or federal government representatives. 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 victims' complaints, the scam artists have accurate data about them, including:
- Social Security numbers
- Dates of birth
- Employer information
- Bank account numbers
- Names and telephone numbers of relatives and friends
Police report the scammers obtained the personal information in various ways, but in some cases, victims say they completed online applications for other loans or credit cards before the calls started.
Officials say the scammers relentlessly call the victims' homes, cell phones, and places of employment threatening victims with legal actions, arrests, and, in some cases, physical violence if they do not pay. They refuse to provide any details about the alleged payday loans and they even become abusive when questioned.
Scammers have instructed victims to fax a statement agreeing to pay a certain amount, on a specific date, via a pre-paid Visa card, say officials. The statement also includes a declaration by the victim that he/she will never dispute the debt.
PCSO has provided some tips to help you if you are a victim or think you may be a victim of a scam such as this:
- Verify all of the caller's information. Then use the Internet -- type in the phone number provided and/or called from, the name of the company, and the caller's name. Include the words 'scam' or 'fraud' in your search. Often there will be numerous listing showing complaints regarding the scams.
- Notify your banking institutions.
- Contact the three major credit bureaus and request an alert be put on your file.
- Contact your local law enforcement agency to report the scam.
- File a complaint at www.IC3.gov. and with www.FTC.gov.
PCSO has also provided tips to avoid being a victim of any telephone or email scam:
- Never give your Social Security number—or personal information of any kind—over the telephone or online unless you initiate the contact.
- Be suspicious of any e-mail with urgent requests for personal financial information. The e-mail may include upsetting or exciting but false statements to get you to react immediately.
- Avoid filling out forms in e-mail messages that request personal information.
- Ensure that your browser is up-to-date and security patches have been applied.
- Check your bank, credit, and debit card statements regularly to make sure that there are no unauthorized transactions. If anything looks suspicious, contact your bank and all card issuers.
- When you contact companies, use numbers provided on the back of cards or statements
- 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.