Nebraskans are being targeted by a debt-collection scam in which they are told they owe money on an old “payday loan.” The callers then threaten them with possible arrest or court action if they do not immediately send payment, the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance said Friday.
Before making a call, officials said, scammers gain access to personally identifiable information including Social Security numbers and old addresses. They then use this information to attempt to collect on what they say is an old debt.
The scammers use differing company names as the source of the debt and the collection company they represent, state officials said. They often require some type of electronic payment by credit card, debit card, prepaid money card or automatic clearinghouse, or ACH, withdrawal in order to complete the transaction quickly.
Complaints about such calls have been coming in mostly from the eastern part of the state, said Tag Herbek, an attorney in the banking and finance department.
The following signs will help consumers spot this scam:
» Callers use aggressive language and demand immediate action.
» Callers refuse to send proof of the debt and simply say they have the debt “in front of them.”
» Callers state they are in the legal department (or some other specific department) and can’t transfer the call to another department, manager or other official.
» Callers say the debt is from more than five years ago.
Consumers are encouraged to follow these tips when dealing with this type of phone call:
» Ask the collector for his or her name, company, address and phone number.
» Refuse to discuss any debt until written proof of the debt, and the caller’s right to collect the debt, is received.
» Do not make any payment, even a partial payment, until you receive the written information.
» Do not give out any personal information, including your email address.
» Keep records of your interactions with any debt collector.
» Verify court orders independently and directly with the court.
» Consult an attorney as needed.
To report fraud, go tondbf.ne.gov/consumers/complaint.shtml