Phone: 239-477-1000
Emergency: 911
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Fraud Alerts

Old Scam with a New Twist
Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In these tough economic times many folks are turning to Payday Loan companies to help cover unexpected emergency expenses or manage short term financial difficulties. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has alerted residents numerous times to be aware of scam artists who claim to be a debt collector for a Payday Loan company; then continually harass or verbally threaten victims to either pay back their debt or face arrest. The scammer uses fear and intimidation to coerce victims into providing their credit card and bank account information. The Sheriff’s Office Fraud line recently received a report from a victim who was being called repeatedly on his home, work and cell phone from a male who claimed the victim owed an outstanding balance on a Payday loan. While talking to the scammer on his landline phone, the victim’s cell phone rang and his mother’s name and number appeared on the caller id. The scammer told the victim to answer the phone and when he did the caller on the other end wasn’t his mom at all; it was the man he was already on the phone with. A short while later the victim’s mother received a call with her son’s name and cell phone number appearing on the caller id. Unaware of the scam being attempted on her son, the mother had no idea that the man on the other end of the phone line was a con-artist ready to steal her money. The male caller identified himself as being a friend of her son’s and said her son had been in a bad accident and needed emergency medical treatment. In order for her son to receive care she was told to wire money via Western Union to an unknown location. Distraught about the well-being of her son, she was on her way to send the cash when she received a phone call from her son telling her about the scam. This scam could have been costly for both the mother and her son. Remember that legitimate cash advance lenders or collectors have strict laws they must adhere to when lending money or collecting debt. Never give personal information or monies over the phone to anyone you don’t know. Consider it a scam if the caller threatens law enforcement involvement for an unpaid debt. If you owe monies for a delinquent loan this is NOT a criminal violation but requires civil action. Media inquires should be directed to Stacey Payne, Community Relations Manager, at (239) 477-1481 sdp 09:26:00