Identity Theft

The Newest Debt Collection Scam

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A debt collection scam in Illinois impersonates the state attorney general in emails threatening debtors with legal action if the debt continues to go unpaid, according to a warning on the office’s website.

The scammers claim to be representing Attorney General Lisa Madigan in emails demanding payment. Attached to the emails, recipients will find a “final warning” letter using an official-looking seal, saying the consumer will be prosecuted by the attorney general if they do not pay what the “representative” says they owe.

Madigan’s office is investigating the scam and urges consumers to ignore it.

“Do not respond to anyone claiming to represent my office with demands for money or threatening prosecution. Instead, call our Consumer Fraud Bureau immediately at 1-800-243-0618,” Madigan’s news release says.

Apparently, people who applied online for loans are at risk, the office stated, because it’s possible the information they provided to the potential lender has been sold to other lenders or fraudsters.

Is That Debt Collection Legit?

Hearing from a debt collector is often an unpleasant experience, if only because it can be upsetting to be reminded of your debt. Getting threatened makes it considerably worse (though debt collectors legally can’t do that). Regardless of how you feel in the moment, verify the legitimacy of a debt before paying it — scammers are trying to capitalize on your fear and get you to fork over money before you think twice.

You’ll know if you have an outstanding debt as long as you regularly check your credit reports and credit scores. If you have questions about the account, reach out to the current owner of the debt or the original lender, and always go into these situations knowing your rights as consumer. Here are 10 things you should know before dealing with a collector.

Check your credit scores regularly (you can do that for free through Credit.com), so you know how negative information like a collections account is impacting your score. With that knowledge you can make strides toward improving your credit standing.

More on Credit Reports and Credit Scores:

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