Scammers are putting a twist on traditional debt collection schemes in an effort to extort money from soldiers. The scam begins with an urgent phone call to the soldier’s home, informing the soldier or spouse that he or she is delinquent on an outstanding loan. This may include a payday loan, credit cards, auto loan, etc., in an effort to extort money.
In most cases, the thieves are attempting to collect a paid loan or an entirely non-existent loan by insisting money to be sent immediately through a money transmittal service similar to Western Union or MoneyGram or through pre-paid credit cards similar to Green Dot. The unscrupulous scammers use a range of tactics which may include threatening to go to the soldier’s commanding officer and/or threatening court marital if the fraudulent debt is not settled.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enforces the federal lending acts while the Colorado Uniform Consumer Credit Code licenses and otherwise regulates payday lenders.
What to do:
- Know your rights—You are required to pay “just” debts but don’t be pressured into paying an uncertain debt.
- Verify who the caller is and what company they represent by asking for the caller’s name, company’s name and address, and a return telephone number.
- If the call pertains to a legitimate debt, hang up the phone and contact the company or person(s) you are working with, using contact information from your original contract and other associated paperwork from your lender.
- Always be wary of demands for payment through a money transmittal service, such as Western Union or MoneyGram.
- Within Colorado, verify licensing and disciplinary history by contacting the Colorado Attorney General's Consumer Credit Unit.
If you believe you have been victimized by a debt collection scam or wish to report suspicious activity, please file a report here.