It's kind of like "The Song that Never Ends": There's always a new version of a scam attempting to steal your identity.
Recently, two such scams hit the tri-state area.
Some members of Dupaco received a phishing e-mail from "Pupaco Community Credit Union," which requested personal information so that the e-mail recipients could supposedly have money deposited into their bank accounts. Scam.
In neighboring Wisconsin, some residents received phone calls from fake debt collectors attempting to collect money on loans that consumers never received or on loans consumers did receive but for amounts they do not owe. Scam.
As always, be highly suspicious when receiving messages or phone calls directing you to provide personal, confidential or account-related information.
If you receive a call from someone attempting to collect debt over the phone, consider this advice from Wisconsin's Department of Financial Institutions:
- Ask the caller for his name, company, street address and telephone number. Tell the caller that you refuse to discuss anything until you get a written "validation notice" through the U.S. mail. The notice must include the amount of the alleged debt, the name of the collection agency, the name of the creditor you allegedly owe and your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
- Stop speaking with the caller.
- Do not give the caller personal financial or other sensitive information. Never give out or confirm personal financial or other sensitive information unless you know who you're dealing with.
- Contact your creditor. If the debt is legitimate - but you think the collector might not be - contact your creditor about the calls.
- Report the call. Contact the Federal Trade Commission or the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
By Emily Kittle