A new phone scam has swept states over the past month in which callers claim to be law enforcement agents seeking payment of a debt.
New York State Police have put out a warning about the calls, and the scam has been reported in other states, such as Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolina.In New York, the scam artists say they are officers representing agencies with names like the Cyber Crime Unit of the New York State Police, or the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. They tell their targets that debts -- from cash advance fees to unpaid loans -- are due and demand the money over the phone. One of the supposed agencies cited in the calls was Advance Cash Net.
The scam is sophisticated enough that the recipients' caller-ID often shows an incoming number with an in-state area code. Officials say this is a ruse.
Some recipients have asked for the address of the law enforcement office in question, and while answers have included actual police and investigatory offices, New York State Police again warn that the debt-collection call is a scam intended to part victims with money and personal information.
New York officials emphasized, in a statement, that neither agency, nor any branch of the State Police, engage in collections calls.
State officials, including the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, caution that consumers getting such calls should never give out personal information or pay purported debts without checking out the caller.
State Police advise recipients to report such calls, or ask their state's attorney general for more information about the callers' claims.
"Debt collection fraud is something our office monitors very closely," AG spokesperson Lauren Passalacqua told Consumer Ally.
Schneiderman's office operates a website of facts and tips about debt collections at its Consumer Frauds Bureau.
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Scam Calls: 'State Police' Demand Debt Payments