Police warn residents to be wary of phone scam

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Gazette staff
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
— The Rock County Sheriff's Office is warning people to be wary of a new phone scam.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center has received complaints from victims of "payday loan telephone collection scams," according to a news release from the Rock County Sheriff's Office.

Callers claim to be representatives of the FBI, the "Federal Legislative Department," law firms or other legitimate sounding agencies.

The scam has been successful because the callers have accurate data about bank account numbers and the names and telephone numbers of relatives and friends.

It's unclear how the scam artists obtained the personal information, but in some cases the victims reported that they completed online applications for loans or credit cards before the calls started.

The scam artists call the victims' homes, cell phones and jobs. They refuse to provide details about the alleged payday loans and become abusive when questioned.

The scam artists threaten legal action, arrests and, in some cases, physical violence.

In many cases, the callers harass victims' relatives, friends or employers.

Sometimes, the scam artists instruct victims to fax a statement agreeing to pay a certain amount on a certain date with pre-paid credit cards.

If you receive such a call:

-- Notify your banking institutions.

-- Contact the three major credit bureaus and request an alert be put on your file.

-- Contact local law enforcement if you feel you are in immediate danger.

-- File a complaint at IC3.gov.

To avoid becoming a victim of this scam:

-- Never give your Social Security number or any other personal information of any kind over the phone.

-- Be suspicious of any email with urgent requests for personal financial information. The email might include upsetting or exciting but false statements to get you to react immediately.

-- Avoid filling out forms in email messages that request personal information.

-- When you contact companies, use numbers provided on the back of cards or statements.

Last updated: 7:37 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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