Payday Loan Scam Victims Threatened With Legal Action, Violence
The Internet Crime Complaint Center has received many complaints from victims of payday loan telephone collection scams, said the Rock County Sheriff’s Office.
The ICC is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center that receives and investigates Internet-related criminal complaints, according to its website. The ICC said these telephone scammers often say the victim is delinquent in a payday loan and must repay the loan to avoid legal consequences.
Callers claim to be representatives of the FBI, Federal Legislative Department, various law firms, or other legitimate-sounding agencies, 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 complaints received from the public, the scammers have accurate data about victims, including Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, employer information, bank account numbers, and the names and telephone numbers of relatives and friends. How the callers obtained the personal information varies, but some victims reported completing online applications for other loans or credit cards before the calls started.
Victims said the scammers relentlessly call their homes, cellphones and places of employment, according to the ICC. Scammers refuse to provide any details about the alleged payday loans and have reportedly 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, the ICC reports.
Some scammers have instructed victims to fax a statement agreeing to pay a certain amount, on a specific date, via a prepaid Visa card. The statement said the victim will never dispute the debt.
If you receive these calls, the Rock County Sheriff’s Office said do not follow the caller?s instructions. Rather, you should:
Notify your banking institutions. Contact the three major credit bureaus and request an alert be put on your file. Contact your local law enforcement agencies if you feel you are in immediate danger. File a complaint at www.IC3.gov.
Tips to avoid becoming a victim of this 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 email with urgent requests for personal financial information. The email may include upsetting or exciting but false statements to get you to react immediately. Avoid filling out forms in email 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.