Telephone Debt-Collection Scams Target First Coast | Crime

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Telephone Debt-Collection Scams Target First Coast
Telephone Debt-Collection Scams Target First Coast

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- At first, it was just an unusual phone call -  then it turned ugly.

Angela Tuhacek said she returned the call and what happened next left her in shock: The person on the other end read a list of charges.

"She read this affidavit with these charges. I said, 'I don't owe anybody, I've got one loan and they just debited my account and I can prove it'," said Tuhacek.

She was the target of a phone scam designed to scare and threaten consumers into paying off a bogus loan with a prepaid credit card.

Tuhacek said she told them it wasn't true, but her response only caused the caller to turn up the heat.

"I said, 'I don't owe anybody'; he said 'oh yes you do and you're going to jail if you don't pay up' and hung up," she said.

Tuhacek said she called the company that holds her only loan  and it confirmed that she was the target of a nationwide telephone debt-collection scam.

"She said, 'I need you to report it to the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission'," said Tuhacek.

She did and has received confirmation e-mails. She also searched the internet and found that this happens often. The caller usually claims that they're with a payday loan company, and threaten the target which is illegal.

"I did a reverse look-up on the phone number; it is listed to San Diego, California,"  said Tuhacek.

But the calls are intimidating and threatening. "First, I was scared," she said.

The goal is to get the person on the other end to pay them with a prepaid credit card, even if they don't owe anything.

"I want people to be aware of this scam," said Tuhacek.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) said the callers claim to be collecting debts for companies such as United Cash Advance, U.S. Cash Advance, U.S. Cash Net.

How the fraudsters obtain personal information is unclear, but IC3 said victims were forced into completing online applications for other loans or credit cards.

Those targeted by this scam should contact their bank, file an alert with the credit bureaus and file a police report.

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