AG warns latest phone scam more convincing than ever

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Attorney General Jim Hood is warning Mississippians about a new phone scam that could fool even the most cautious among us. He said the scammers who call will already have information like your Social Security number, old bank account numbers, driver's license numbers, home addresses, employer information, and even the names of personal friends and professional references.

"While you might think you can spot some scams from a mile away, this latest one uses your own information against you," Hood said Tuesday in a news release.

Hood said the caller will accuse the victim of defaulting on a payday loan, and in some instances even claim the victim is being, or will be, sued. They may threaten that if the victim doesn't pay immediately via wire or by providing bank account or credit card numbers, he or she will be arrested.

Many call themselves federal investigators, and use methods of fear and intimidation.

"One consumer who felt threatened lost $1,300 after she gave out her bank account information," said Hood.

The Attorney General reminds Mississippi consumers that there are things you can do to protect yourself from these scams. It's good advice to remember even if the "collector" turns out to be legitimate.

Under the Federal Trade Commission's Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse any person while attempting to collect a debt. This includes threats of arrest or removal from your home.

Here of some tips to follow if you receive a suspicious phone call from a supposed debt collector:

  • Ask the debt collector to provide official documentation in writing which substantiates the debt.
  • Do not provide or confirm any bank account, credit card or other personal information over the phone until you have confirmed the legitimacy of the call.
  • Review recent copies of your credit reports to ensure that the alleged debt is not affecting your credit.
  • Consumers should always use caution when disclosing any personal information, particularly on a website. Be cautious of any lender that does not ask you for background information outside of your bank account number, which may be a sign that the payday loan offered is not legitimate.

If you've been a victim of this scam or any other, contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's Office at 1-800-281-4418.

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