News5 viewer avoids losing money over suspicious call to debt collector
COLORADO SPRINGS – Not everyone calling saying you’re in debt is legit. Federal Trade Commission investigators say they are often fraudsters who are simply trying to scare you into paying them. News5 spoke with one of our viewers who hopes his experience will help others protect their wallets.
This unexpected phone call could happen to any of us. Deb Chamberlain says she got a call from someone who knew a lot about her, threatening to put a lien on her house because she owed them money, but after some research she says it’s was wrong.
“I could have answered it but again I didn’t recognize it so I just let it go to voicemail and then I came back and listened and it was quite shocking” , Chamberlain said.
The caller left an aggressive voicemail saying a lien had been placed on his property and further action was being taken if Deb did not pay immediately.
“I had 24 hours to rectify it, or a lien was going to be put on my house, they were going to seize my wages, go to my place of work, and also stop at my house where they actually had the right street, ” , Chamberlain said.
She did not return the call, instead she contacted the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder who had no records for any of the claims made. by the random caller.
“I feel like my privacy was invaded because they had a lot of information that I don’t know where they got it from,” Chamberlain said.
The clerk and archivist’s office say they’ve heard of experiences like this before and that Deb did the right thing.
“We see this stuff in the community as an ebb and flow. You will see it appear for a few days and then it will disappear for months,” said Chuck Broerman, El Paso County Clerk. “Make yourself comfortable, contact our office, our check-in department and we can give you the best of yourself. »
Deb says she’s worried someone would pick up a call like this and be surprised to answer immediately, perhaps paying off a fraudster. That’s why she shared her story with News5.
“I’ve seen some of your other reporting and that’s what prompted me to call Channel 5,” Chamberlain said. “I feel like if people shared these kinds of stories more often, we could prevent some of them from happening as often.”
It can be difficult to identify a legitimate debt collection call from a fraudster. The FTC outlines some of the steps you can take to verify the call and protect yourself.
A caller can be a fake debt collector if he…
- want you to pay off a debt you don’t recognize
- refuse to give you their postal address or telephone number
- pressure you or try to scare you into paying by threatening to report you to law enforcement or arrest
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