Warnings renewed of fraud by telephone
The Colorado Attorney General’s Office renewed its warning to consumers Tuesday about telephone fraud involving strong-arm tactics to collect phony outstanding debts.
The callers, who appear to be out of the country, are using fake but real-sounding state and federal agencies to fool people into believing they have an unpaid payday loan, Attorney General John Suthers said.
In some cases, they also falsely claim an association with Suthers’ office to make their fraudulent claims.
“Consumers should not hesitate to report any instances of debt-related fraud or threats to my office as well as local authorities,” Suthers said in a news release.
Warnings that seem to be related to the same scammers have been issued by attorneys general in other states in recent months. At the same time, local law enforcement agencies around the state, including the Grand Junction Police Department, have received complaints about similar scams.
Earlier this month, Grand Junction police investigated two reports that said a California-based check-cashing firm was telephoning Grand Valley residents, demanding personal information, including the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, police spokeswoman Kate Porras said.
Similar to the scammers that Suthers is warning Coloradans about, those callers threatened potential victims with filing felony charges if they didn’t give out their personal information.
The Attorney General’s Office has received 53 complaints statewide since February, some involving people who gave out their personal information, Suthers’ spokesman Mike Saccone said.
Those complainants said fraudulent debt collectors, some of whom called themselves “officers” of such official-sounding but fictional agencies as the Criminal Bureau of Identity or the National Criminal Center, had threatened them with legal action unless they made an immediate payment.
The complainants said the callers had a variety of foreign accents and had some personal information about callers.