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Scam alert: Thieves may be posing as collection agency

Fraud Alert:

By Jeff Broddle

CADILLAC — A phone call received by a Manton man held warning signs of a possible scam with a new angle on parting people from their money.

Dan Dowland, 52, said he recently received a call from an outfit that identified itself to him only as “litigations department.”

Dowland said the caller told him he had an unpaid bill from seven years ago, and that he needed to send in a $100 payment by a deadline of Thursday, or he would owe $1,400. The caller was located in Washington, D.C.

Thing is, Dowland doesn’t have any outstanding bills that he knows of.

Even more telling was the method of payment requested by the caller. When money is requested in an unusual fashion, it can be a red flag that the call may be a scam.

The caller asked Dowland to make payment by purchasing a pre-paid $100 Visa card from Wal-Mart and sending it by mail. Even more unusual: the caller said they would not accept a check. In general, a legitimate business seeking to collect a debt would be more than happy to receive a check.


If you receive a similar call, turn the tables and take control of the conversation.

That’s the advice of Phil Catlett, president of the Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan.

In some cases, it can be difficult to tell if a caller is an actual collections firm using questionable practices, or a scam altogether.

In either case, it’s your right to ask for a contact name, address and phone number. Send a letter to the firm telling them to provide evidence of the debt in writing. Also tell them not to call your telephone again — legally they will prohibited from doing so, Catlett said.

Don’t disclose any confidential information, either. If the company is collecting on a legitimate debt, then they should already have your address.

Article source: http://www.cadillacnews.com/news_story/?story_id=1816074&year=2014&issue=20140206