Illinois Residents Warned of Phone Scam Sweeping State


Scam artists are posing as payday loan representatives and trying to collect money from Illinois residents, according to a report from loan company Advance America.

The scammers call victims at their homes and use a handful of methods to try and collect money.

Details of the tactics, from the Daily Herald:

Over the past few weeks, scammers have contacted Illinois residents claiming that they have been preapproved for a loan, and then asking them to purchase a prepaid debit card or wire money as a “processing fee” or “good faith deposit.” In other cases, scammers seek to collect on “unpaid” payday loan debt, often threatening arrest or legal action or demanding personal financial information over the phone.

“Scammers often use the reputation of a legitimate, respected business to con victims out of their money,” said Patrick O’Shaughnessy, president and CEO of Advance America. “Legitimate payday lenders such as Advance America are highly regulated at both the state and federal level and will never use the kind of fraudulent and illegal tactics employed by scam artists.”

If you get a call threatening you with arrest or legal action, the call is almost certainly a scam. That’s because federal law (the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) prohibits debt collectors from threatening people with arrest. Real debt collectors know this; but scammers are willing to break the rules.

Advance America gives this list of ways to protect yourself from loan and debt collection scams:

  • Never give personal information such as your Social Security number or bank account information online or over the phone without verifying that you are working with a legitimate lender or bill collector. To verify, call the establishment back using a known number, such as the number listed on your statement or on the back of your credit/debit card.


  • Be suspicious of any email with urgent requests for personal financial information. If an email demands immediate action or makes upsetting or exciting false statements, it’s likely a scam.


  • Verify company licenses when applying for a loan online. Legitimate lenders will display state licenses on their websites to verify that they are full-service, licensed lenders complying with state and federal laws.


  • Never wire money or provide prepaid debit card information to a lender claiming you have been preapproved for a loan and must make an initial payment as a “show of good faith.”


  • Keep anti-virus, anti-malware, and spam email protection software up to date on all your computing devices.


  • Maintain a record of all outstanding debt, and include lender contact information.


  • Regularly check your bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure there are no unauthorized transactions. Likewise, check your credit report (using Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) every four months on a rotating basis; credit reports are often one of the first places where signs of identity theft or fraud will appear.


  • If someone approaches you claiming you owe them a debt, demand they provide written proof of the debt as the law requires — especially if it’s for a charge you don’t recognize.


Photo by  Doug via Flickr CC License

Share This Post

Related Articles

Powered by WordPress · Designed by Theme Junkie
Facebook IconTwitter Icon