This week the Lee County Sheriff's Office fraud line received approximately 10 complaints from residents who have received harassing and threatening phone calls from the same number beginning with a (512) area code. The caller has been described as a man who claims to be an attorney or a legal service representative hired to "collect" on an outstanding loan or debt that the victim does not owe.
The caller has phoned complainants multiple times throughout the day at their place of employment, at home and on their cell phone. He has threatened arrest if the "loan" is not repaid immediately via a credit card or wire transfer, threatened to bring a lawsuit against the victim's name and social security number; threatened to garner the victim's wages or notify the victim's employer and threatened to file a warrant against the victim for "bank fraud." The caller uses government names such as the "Federal Trade Commission", "Federal Bureau of Investigation" and the phony name of "Federal Department of Crime and Prevention".
The Sheriff's Office reminds consumers that they should not be pressured into paying debt they don't remember owing. Legitimate debt collectors must provide consumers with both written information about the debt and instructions for protecting themselves if they don't think they owe the debt. You are also urged to be cautious when inquiring, applying for or obtaining online payday loans.
To file a complaint against a debt collector real or fake contact the Florida Office of the Attorney General at www.myfloridalegal.com, the Lee County Sheriff's Office Fraud Line at 477-1242 or visit the Federal Trade Commission's website at www.ftc.gov to learn more about fake debt collectors and how to protect yourself.
If you have questions about this or want to report any other scam, please contact the Fraud Hotline at 477-1242.