The Federal government does have entities that pursue financial crimes. They are known as the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other official departments. Scammers are trying to cash in by claiming that the Federal Crimes Investigation Unit or the United Financial Crimes Division are special government agencies that are investigating you for an unpaid payday loan. In reality, this is another payday loan collection scam.
I personally would feel honored if the great Uncle Sam devoted thousands of dollars in resources to investigate me for an unpaid payday loan of $300. However, the Feds have better things to do, and there are legal methods for legitimate debt collectors to follow as they attempt to collect on actual debts.
The Federal government does not pursue collection of private consumer debts. The court system is in place as a way for creditors to pursue repayment from debtors when normal collection methods do not work.
What these scammers are doing is preying on anyone who does not know their rights as a consumer. They intimidate you through threats of arrest or seizure of property. For many consumers, they know they owe no money and immediately turn away these scammers. For others, they owe so many lenders that they do not question the veracity of the callers. They just assume it must be true. Some others doubt that they owe, yet they send money fearing repercussions that might affect an upcoming credit check or loan closing.
How to Protect Yourself
Anytime a creditor claims you owe money, exercise your right to validate the debt. Request that the collector send you verfication that you actually owe the money. This verification should include information about the original creditor and how much you owe. It is important that you exercise this right within 30 days of their first contact; otherwise the debt may reasonably be considered to be a valid debt by the collector. In this case, a scammer would rarely follow through by providing this information. Validation may be requested verbally or you can draft a letter and mail it in.
Additionally, you should contact your state’s attorney general to seek information about the debt collector. They can verify information about the collector as well as advise you on the possibility that the caller may have been part of a scam.
This scam was initially reported by residents in Western Maryland. Similar payday loan scams in Mississippi and other states have also been reported.
Long is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Industrial Relations. He subsequently received his Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. His Certificate in Financial Planning was issued by Florida State University.
Long has achieved the Accredited Credit Counselor and Accredited Financial Counselor certifications through the Association for Financial Counseling, Planning and Education. Long originally achieved the Certified Credit Counselor designation through the National Institute for Financial Education.
In addition to years of nonprofit leadership, Long has been an innovator in the field of volunteer tax return preparation programs. He assists volunteer associations and nonprofit organizations who seek to integrate credit counseling and asset-building programs with free personal income tax preparation. His approach to using free credit reports as both an incentive and a screening tool for placement into asset-building programs has been shared with members of the National Community Tax Coalition, the EITC-Carolinas Initiative of MDC, Inc. and nonprofit groups across the Carolinas.
Long assists members of our armed forces in the Carolinas, Iowa, Rhode Island, Georgia and Germany with financial readiness. Please support our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors!
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."