Sacto 9-1-1
January 23, 2012
Yolo County DA warns of phony collection agency calls

The Yolo County District Attorney's Office is warning residents, particularly older adults, to beware of phony collection agency calls.

Several people recently contacted the Yolo County District Attorney's Elder Protection Unit to report phone calls from people pretending to be from a collection agency. In one instance, the caller claimed to be an attorney and that more than $800 was owed for magazine subscriptions.

Officials warn that crooks can disguise the number they are calling from by using computers.

The callers hope to intimidate the targeted individuals into providing personal information such as Social Security or credit card numbers to take care of an outstanding bill. Then they can use that information to commit identity theft and purchase items with the victim's credit card, according to a District Attorney's Office news release.

Officials say people should be suspicious of calls that come out of the blue asking for personal information. If someone claims to be calling from a collection agency about an old unpaid bill, ask them to send a written confirmation with a copy of the original invoice so that it can be reviewed and checked against records. If it is a legitimate debt, follow up to resolve the matter.

A call from a debt collector may an indication that at person's identity has been stolen. Officials note that scammers sometimes purchase items using stolen account information and fail to pay the bill. To prevent this, the District Attorney's Office advises getting a free credit report once a year.

For more information on how to protect oneself from scams or for help obtaining a free credit report, call Dave Edwards at (530) 666-8416.

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