Police impersonation the latest move by debt collection scammers
Apr 23, 2013 Philip Burgess
A new debt collection scam has hit Spokane, Washington. A local resident reported that he received a phone call from a man claiming to be a police officer, demanding that he pay an outstanding debt or face being arrested. The man noted that the caller was aggressive and attempted to intimidate him, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) said.
Allegedly, the scammer directed the man to contact him on a different phone which made the Spokane resident suspicious. Instead of calling the number he was provided, the man contacted the original listing to find that it belonged to the local sheriff's office. The office claimed it knew nothing of an outstanding debt.
Upon further investigation, police called the number the scammer directed the man to contact him with. It reached an operation that provided a fake address in Dallas, Texas. The suspicious contact refused to provide more information to the Spokane police.
According to the BBB, this type of scam is very serious and can lead to identity theft. In a press release, they recommended that victims of fake debt collection calls stay calm and gather as much information as possible.
The BBB noted that local police and government entities never contact citizens out of the blue regarding outstanding debt.
For debt collection agencies, stories like this tend to put the industry in a negative light. It's an unfortunate truth for many of the honest people in the business, but as long as these firms operate properly, hopefully the stereotypes many hold against debt collectors will vanish.
Always make sure that employees are highly trained so that they are familiar with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Not only will this help collection companies avoid litigation, it will supply a level of professionalism to workers that will make debtors at ease. Making sure that the person in debt is comfortable is important. They need to feel like debt collectors are working to help them, not harm them.