FRAUD ALERT: Debt Collection Scam

Press Release

(Woodland, CA) - September 2, 2016 - Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig is warning residents to be wary of fraudulent telephone calls from people posing as debt collection agents. These scammers state that you have a warrant for your arrest issued by a local law enforcement agency because of an unpaid debt from your past. The scammers say that unless the debt is paid immediately, you will be arrested. These so-called debt collection agents sound very official and the scam is very well executed. Concerned Yolo County citizens have recently contacted the District Attorney’s Fraud Unit to report being contacted by these scammers.

The official sounding “Debt Collection” phone call is designed to frighten recipients into responding quickly while they are upset and not thinking clearly. Prior to the call, the scammers cleverly look up information about the victim which is public record, such as a rented property or homes owned from the past. With this information, they make claims that there are liens or past debts owed from the time that the victim lived at the particular residence. Since the information the scammers are giving the victim over the phone is accurate and believable, the claims that they owe past due money sound credible. As with most scams, the con artists are either trying to scare the victim into “wiring” money or going out to purchase greendot MoneyPak reloadable prepaid cards. Scammers are also trying to get a hold of personal information like Social Security or Credit Card numbers. It is illegal for debt collection agencies to make threats on the phone and they cannot issue local bench warrants for your arrest. Also, if these scammers represent themselves as an agent of the local courts or of local law enforcement, remember that the courts and law enforcement never ask for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone.

If you get this type of call: 1) Never provide any personal information and never “wire” money or purchase greendot MoneyPak cards; 2) Verify the identity of the caller by requesting an employee identification number. Also, never hesitate to ask a trusted friend or advisor for help before responding to any such suspicious calls.

According to District Attorney Reisig, “The complexity and frequency of these types of scams has increased over the last several months. Nobody is immune from being targeted by these persistent crooks. The best defense against becoming a victim of such a scam is knowledge and vigilance.”

For more information about this and other types of scams or to report suspected fraud to the Yolo County District Attorney, please call 855-4-YOLO-DA or visit YoloDA.org.

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