I receive several calls each month from consumers who are being hassled by an unknown debt collector. The caller sounds official, and the caller ID shows a North Carolina phone number. It may even show an official sounding name like “Federal Bureau” or “Process Service”. They say the consumer has an old unpaid debt, often a payday loan, and there is a warrant outstanding against for check fraud. They threaten to send law enforcement unless money is paid within a few hours. These calls are very frightening. The caller usually knows enough personal details to make the consumer believe the call is real – for instance, where the consumer works, the names of his relatives, the name of his bank.
Don’t fall for this common scam. Scammers obtain consumer information on the black market, often information provided on an Internet loan application to a payday lender that was never completed. There is no arrest for unpaid unsecured loan or credit card debt in North Carolina. The “case number” provided by these scammers is fake. When pressed to do so, the scammers will not give a legitimate address or phone number. They may send you an e-mail, but the e-mail will have no return address. When asked for their North Carolina debt collection agency license number, these scammers will claim they are exempt from licensing.
A legitimate debt collector or creditor will provide their name, address, license number and telephone number upon request. They will also be willing to mail you a statement or a letter indicating what debt they are attempting to collect, and how much they claim you owe.
See the following statement from North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper about these scammers: