The Maricopa County (Ariz.) Attorney's Office is warning about a scam involving telephone solicitations and threats from individuals claiming to be collection representatives of the county attorney's office.

The fraudulent callers threaten legal action if the person fails to pay off a bounced check they may have written in the past, according to County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

"This is a scam, pure and simple, and people should hang up the phone immediately," he adds.

The County Attorney's Office said it has received numerous complaints from people who at one time wrote a bad check that was submitted to the Check Enforcement Program operated by the County Attorney's Office. That program recovers restitution for individuals and merchants who receive bad checks.

But the program never contacts bad check writers by phone to demand payment. In many cases, scam operators target people who already have paid off their bad checks through the program.  Since its creation in the late 1980s, the Check Enforcement Program has recovered more than $40 million in restitution for victims of bad checks and processes about 6,000 bad checks each year.

Most offenders are provided a chance to avoid legal action by paying the full amount of the check plus any statutory fees. The program is offered as a free service to individuals and merchants who receive bad checks.

It was not immediately clear how the scammers gained access to the Check Enforcement Program's database.

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