Phony debt collectors still a problem

 A month after NewsChannel 5 warned you about phony debt collectors, the Cleveland Better Business Bureau issued a warning to consumers. These phony debt collectors are making the rounds, because it’s been a national problem for some time. It appears Cleveland is still a target for now. 

If you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to fall for the phony debt collector. Consumers report that the caller knows the last four digits of their social security number and their place of employment.

The BBB says the individual they heard from received multiple calls as late as 10:00 PM and the scammers called the individual’s place of employment.

With the extensive personal information that is known, it appears there was some sort of data breach. The consumer who called 5 On Your Side got a call about a payday loan. He’s used these loans in the past, and the caller knew the company.

For my NewsChannel 5 story, I repeatedly called the company in question but never got a response. My question — why weren’t consumers notified? The company posted an alert on its website, but it wasn’t something past customers would see.

Most of the time when there is a breach of some kind, you are alerted by mail that your information was compromised. You’re usually told the extent of the breach including what information they got. Was enough stolen to steal your identity?

In this case, there wasn’t enough information stolen to steal someone’s identity but it’s still frightening. Consumers who get these calls should still be vigilant, because the basic personal information the phony debt collector has can be used to gather more information whether you give it up on the phone call or not.

Click here to read my full story.

Click here to read questions the FTC says you should be asking before paying a debt.