DAYTON, OHIO, August 4, 2009 - Your Better Business Bureau is issuing a national alert about phony debt collectors calling people nationwide claiming they’ve defaulted on payday loans and will be arrested if they don’t pay immediately. Claiming to be lawyers, the scammers say they’re with the "Financial Accountability Association" or the "Federal Legislation of Unsecured Loans" and are equipped with disconcerting amounts of personal information about their potential victims.
"Because the scammers have so much information about potential victims, your BBB is concerned this may be the result of a data breach," said John North, BBB president and CEO. "Thousands of people may’ve had their personal information compromised. Given the scammers’ tactics, it appears those who’ve previously used payday loan services could be particularly at risk."
According to reports received by your BBB and posted online, scammers accuse victims of defaulting on payday loans and claim they’re being sued. Phony debt collectors threaten if victims don’t pay as much as $1,000 immediately via wire or by providing bank account or credit card numbers, they’ll be arrested and extradited to California within the hour to stand trial. Scammers often have victims’ Social Security, old bank account numbers or drivers’ license numbers, as well as home addresses, employer information and even names of personal friends and professional references.
Your BBB offers the following advice if you receive a suspicious telephone call about an outstanding debt:
Ask the debt collector to provide official documentation substantiating the debt.
Don’t provide or confirm any bank account, credit card or other personal information over the phone until you’ve confirmed the call’s legitimacy.
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov if the caller is abusive, uses threats or otherwise violates federal telemarketing laws.
File a complaint with your BBB if you believe a debt collector is trying to scam you. Visit www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.
According to complaints online, phone numbers scammers are calling from include: (949)468-5107; (415) 200-0274; (415) 200-0274; (213) 784-5745; (408) 715-1614; and many others.
About Your BBB Serving Dayton and the Miami Valley
Your BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses earning BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. Your BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 126 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring nearly 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Your BBB serving Dayton and the Miami Valley serves Montgomery, Greene, Clark, Darke, Miami, Preble, Shelby and northern Warren counties. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about your BBB.