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BBB Warns Consumers About Recent Debt Collection Scam

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2014 | Consumer Protection

The Better Business Bureau (“BBB”) has recently
received numerous complaints from consumers stating they have
received debt collection calls from collectors representing
themselves as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”).
Specifically, the complaints state that debtors have been receiving
calls with the caller i.d. showing “Federal Investigations
Department”.  Consumers most often answer the phone believing
the call to be coming from the FBI and the caller on the line
represents him or herself to be an FBI agent calling
to collect a debt
for an overdue payday loan.

The truth is, you may actually have a past due payday loan but
the caller does not work for the FBI and he or she is out to
collect much more than the balance due and much more than what you
actually owe.  The
FBI agent/collector is a common scam
meant to intimidate
debtors into making payment out of fear.  This fictitious
agent/collector will set up payment by wire transfer or a pre-paid
debt card and when debtor states the amount owed seems unreasonably
high, the collector will threaten legal action and jail time to
coerce you into making payment.  To most debtors, this seems
real and frightening, especially when the caller has your personal
information, including full name, address, place of employment and
social security number.

Despite your fear, these fictitious FBI agents have no control
over you, cannot sue you and cannot send you to jail.  In the
event you receive a collection call from one of these scam artists,
try to remain calm and in control.  First and foremost, DO NOT
pay the collector any money.  Wire transfers and prepaid debit
cards are the same as cash and once the money is handed over it is
as good as gone.  Second, hang up on the collector and do not
call back.  The longer you stay on the line with a scam
collector the more they intimidate you and the more personal
information you are bound to disclose, which will eventually be
used against you.  If you find you are unable to hang up on
the collector, ask for written validation of
the debt
or an initial collection letter.  Knowing your rights
under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”)
always protect you.  You are entitled to written proof of the
debt and without that proof you are not required to make
payment.  If the collector refuses to provide you with proof
of the debt in writing, the collector has essentially waived the
red flag that the call is a scam and you need not make
payment.  Lastly, if the caller represented him or herself as
an FBI agent, make sure to report the impersonation to the

If you are having problems with a debt collector contacting you
and need the advice of assistance of counsel, contact SmithMarco
P.C. for a free case review.