OLYMPIA — Scammers are targeting consumers with threats of arrest, criminal prosecution, wage garnishment and high fees for allegedly unpaid personal loans and payday loans, warns the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions Division of Consumer Services.
The division has received more than 100 complaints over the last year from consumers reporting being contacted by a supposed debt collector attempting to collect a nonexistent debt. In some cases, the caller has had personal information about the consumer such as name, address, date of birth, and even Social Security number, the news release said.
Consumers should verify debt and should not send money or provide any personal information.
Consumers should be wary when they get a collection call, even if the collector claims to be from law offices, the FBI and other law enforcement or government agencies, the news release said.
Warning signs that the debt may be invalid may include:
• Caller unwilling to provide written validation of the debt.
• Caller won't provide a mailing address.
• Caller threatens criminal sanctions or violence, or uses profane language or other scare tactics.
• You don't recognize the debt.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, deceptive and unfair collection practices.