Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood released a statement last week warning consumers about a potential debt collection scam in Mississippi, according to ACA International, the association representing collection agencies and creditors.
The scam accuses consumers of defaulting on payday loans, and in some instances the perpetrators threaten legal action.
The perpetrators call consumers and threaten them by stating if they do not pay immediately via wire or by providing bank account or credit card numbers they will be arrested. Additionally, the perpetrators often call themselves federal investigators and use methods of fear and intimidation.
The perpetrators may possess the consumer’s Social Security number, bank account number(s), driver’s license number, home addresses, employer information, and even names of personal friends and professional references prior to initiating the telephone call.
The press release provided by Attorney General Hood reminds Mississippi consumers they are protected under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and provides suggestions consumers can use to protect themselves from scams such as the one mentioned above. The suggestions include:
* Ask the collector to provide official documentation in writing confirming the debt;
* Do not provide or confirm any bank account, credit card or other personal information over the phone until the legitimacy of the call has been confirmed;
* Review recent copies of consumer reports to ensure the alleged debt is not affecting your credit;
* Use caution when disclosing any personal information, particularly on a website.
Collection agencies should be aware of this scam in case consumers mention it. Anyone who suspects they have been a victim of this scam should contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-281-4418.