Debt Collector Scams on the Rise - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Debt Collector Scams on the Rise

It's an increasing scam among citizens where "debt collectors" are able to get access to your personal information.

The scam has been around, but recently has started to increase. These are third-party debt collectors who buy old debt information from original creditors for "pennies on the dollar". Waco attorney John Fugate has recently seen 1,000 cases. 

"They are getting calls and they are pretending to be the police, law firms and they are pretending to be process servers with lawsuits that they are going to deliver to your door," said Fugate.

Usually the fake process server will call and harass you to settle the debt or they will service civil papers or arrest warrants within the same day.

"These are people with criminal backgrounds and convicted felons," said Fugate. "People with convicted fraud and when they purchase these accounts from collectors they now have your social security number and your address."

Fugate warns to never pay based on a phone threat. Especially a company who demands money by pre-paid visas.

News Channel 25 was able to hear recorded conversations from Fugate's office.

Scammer: "Now if you would like to see if I can get you an out of court restitution I'd be more than glad to get that done for you today"

Resident: "Where would I mail a payment to?"

Scammer: "You don't mail anything to this office, you have to pay the processing firm assigned to that company. They have two payment options. I don't think they use the mail, they do money gram and they also do debit cards, but they have to fax you a form"

Scammers also look for the right ways to swoop in and catch you off guard, such as a change in office. "Debt collectors" have called and claimed to be from the McLennan County District Attorney's office. 

"We had a change in the guard, now we got a new DA," McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna said. "I'm aggressive and have a 'let's go get em' attitude and people(scammers) tag on to that and will jump on your coat tail."

The scary part is, it's hard to track down these scammers.

"The amounts being stolen from people are small enough that the secret service or the federal agency are not going to get involved," Fugate said. "They are just too small amounts and yet it adds up.

By federal law, legitimate debt collectors have to send a letter identifying who they are within five days of the first call. If they can't provide any proof of who they are, it's likely a scam.

John Fugate has offered to talk to anyone concerned about whether a collector is scamming them and will use his resources to try to determine who they are. Fugate can be reached at (254)756-2424

 

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