Scam artists pretending to be legitimate debt collectors and law enforcement officials are terrorizing consumers, causing unsuspecting victims to lose thousands of dollars.
Prosecutors say that these con men are calling people at home and at work and even threatening arrests for debts that are not really owed. These scammers generally claim they are working for as U.S. National Bank, Federal Investigation Bureau and United Legal Processing.
The scammers sometimes speak with heavy foreign accents and even will claim to be celebrities in some cases. For example, one claimed to be Denzel Washington whereas another claimed to be calling from Steve Martin’s office. The use of celebrity names may indicate lack of familiarity of American names. Presumably, some of these scam artists are believed to be based in India.
In general, the con artists will refuse to give their real names, pertinent company information, and the real locations of their offices. They also will supply completely bogus rationale for why you have not heard of their divisions within certain companies. For example, one scammer said “it is not necessary that each and everyone knows about the Financial Crime Division and probably one of them is you.”
In general, these scummy collectors are targeting consumers who take out payday loans. They have illegally obtained consumers’ Social Security numbers and other personal information. They also throw around meaningless legal terms. This information and terminology is used to give the illusion of legitimacy and power.
So far, these fraudulent debt collectors have been impossible to track. Make sure you are on the look out. It is unclear whether there is a current Federal Trade Commission investigation yet. Both West Virginia and Florida residents have been targeted thus far. If you, or someone you know, have complaints about a debt collector, please contact the FTC, the Better Business Bureau, or your state attorney general’s office.