Tamara here, from the AllClear ID Investigations Team.  People across the country are receiving calls from scammers stating that they owe on a payday loan. The callers claim that a lawsuit has been filed against the victim and they are to pay the “debt” immediately, typically via wire transfer. If the victim does not pay, the scammers often become threatening, harassing or intimidating and threaten victims with a court appearance and possibly jail. They do not stop with the multiple calls at home, they even going so far as to calling the victim’s place of employment.

Some of the callers even claim to be from the attorney general’s office or an officer of the Internet Crime Compliance Center (IC3) and claim the victim is being sued by the IC3.

The callers have the victim’s social security number and bank account information (though, in some cases, it was an old account number). There have also been cases where the scammer has the victim’s address, employer information, driver’s license numbers and sometimes even names of personal friends or professional references. The information they have obtained may have been from a data breach or from an on-line application for other loans or credit cards.

The callers have used fake names, foreign accents and provided incorrect phone numbers for call back. Upon being questioned, the scammer is not able to provide valid details regarding the debt or where they are calling from. They become very upset and may even pretend to be on the radio with the authorities commanding arrest immediately.

Unfortunately, some people do fall victim to this scam. Once the scammer gets the first wire transfer, they then demand more. Not only is this financially detrimental to the victim, the psychological implications of the threats and harassment from the scammers is disconcerting.

In the event you get one of these calls, do not confirm or provide any personal information to the caller. If you do have a payday loan, contact your lender directly to verify the status of the debt and inform them of the call. Also, review all of your existing financial accounts to ensure they have not been compromised. Place a fraud alert on your credit file. File a complaint at www.ic3.gov, the Federal Trade commission at www.ftc.gov/ftc/contact.shtm, and if threatened, file a police report.