Money Credit and You© Latest News and Information

Fraud Experts Say: Don’t Fall for Illegal Soliciting

Fraud Experts Say: Don’t Fall for Illegal Soliciting

March 15, 2016

Soliciting occurs everyday, and whether it’s someone knocking on your front door or calling you over the phone, there are some red flags that you should be aware of so you don’t fall victim to the next soliciting fraud.

Your first major red flag that a phone call is a scam is when the caller asks you to wire money, said Exeter Township police Officer Sean Fullerton.

RELATED: Court Refuses to Toss Trump University Fraud Case

No matter how urgent or how desperate the caller sounds, don’t do it, Fullerton said.

Fullerton recognizes how hard it can be when the stranger seems to know about you and claims a relative needs your help or threatens you with a lawsuit. They want you to run out to Wal-Mart and get a pre-paid card and then give them the numbers from the card.

“We’ve spoken to some of these scammers,” Fullerton said. “They are so convincing.”But don’t do it.Fullerton said his department handles hundreds of scam complaints a year. Most people never see the money they’ve lost.It doesn’t have to be that way. Remember that in any of the dire situations described – a loved in the hospital or facing jail – first contact would not be from a strange caller but from an official channel. Real lawyers and Internal Revenue Service agents don’t demand immediate wire payments.Fullerton said that if you are contacted, you should run the situation by a trusted friend or family member before responding.

One scam that started with downloaded software had an elderly man convinced he was going to be taken to court in a foreign country if he didn’t pay up. He lost $15,000, Fullerton said.

Scammers prey on older victims, Fullerton said.Most scams begin with an emotional, stressful situation, Fullerton said. Then the scammer offers an easy solution to pay money, which gives the victim a sense of relief. Then, the scammer will put the pressure on and make an urgent appeal: You must wire the money immediately.”Agencies don’t work like that,” Fullerton said. “That kind of urgency doesn’t exist.”The scammers work hard to have enough data to convince you to send them money, Fullerton said.”It is a profession, and people that do it are very good,” Fullerton said. “And it’s a little bit scary.”

RELATED: Hospice Fraud Costing Medicare Millions

You have rights with debt collectors

Nearly a third of all fraud complaints last year in Pennsylvania had to do with debt collection. Believe it or not, you have rights with debt collectors.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, if you send the debt collector a letter stating that you don’t owe any or all of the money, or asking for verification of the debt, that collector must stop contacting you. You have to send that letter within 30 days after you receive the validation notice. But a collector can begin contacting you again if it sends you written verification of the debt, like a copy of a bill for the amount you owe.What a debt collector is prohibited from doing:Other than to obtain location information about you, a debt collector generally is not permitted to discuss your debt with anyone other than you, your spouse or your attorney.Debt collectors may not harass, oppress or abuse you or any third parties they contact. They cannot use threats of violence or harm; use obscene or profane language; repeatedly use the phone to annoy someone; or publish a list of names of people who refuse to pay their debts, but they can give this information to the credit reporting companies.Debt collectors may not:

  • Lie when they are trying to collect a debt.
  • Falsely claim that they are attorneys or government representatives.
  • Falsely claim that you have committed a crime.
  • Falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit-reporting company.
  • Misrepresent the amount you owe.
  • Indicate that papers they send you are legal forms if they aren’t or indicate that papers they send to you aren’t legal forms if they are.
  • Say that you will be arrested if you don’t pay your debt.
  • Say they’ll seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages unless they are permitted by law to take the action and intend to do so; or legal action will be taken against you, if doing so would be illegal or if they don’t intend to take the action.
  • Give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit reporting company.
  • Send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency if it isn’t, or use a false company name.
  • May not try to collect any interest, fee, or other charge on top of the amount you owe unless the contract that created your debt, or your state law, allows the charge.
  • Deposit a postdated check early.
  • Take or threaten to take your property unless it can be done legally.
  • Contact you by postcard.

Are you a victim of fraud or money scam? Share your story with us on the Money Credit and You Facebook page!

Original article published on  Photo Credit: