The Sheriff's Office of Lee County, Florida, recently issued the latest in a series of warnings about scam artists who claim to be collecting debts related to payday loans, the News-Press reports.
The callers continually harass victims via telephone, using fear and intimidation tactics to get them to reveal personal information, such as details about their credit cards and bank accounts. In one case, a victim's mother received a call from the number of her son's cell phone from a man claiming to be one of his friends. The man told her that her son had been in a serious car accident and required emergency medical treatment that she would have to fund by wiring money via Western Union. In order to differentiate themselves from scammers, legitimate agency representatives should follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which states that "debt collectors may not harass, oppress or abuse you or any third parties they contact." The FDCPA also prevents collectors from misrepresenting themselves and their purpose. Other illegal tactics include placing repeated phone calls to debtors, revealing the existence of debt to a third party such as family members and employers, using profanities and calling early in the morning or late at night.