An arrogant gentleman with a thick accent calls and asks you by your full name. He explains that he’s a detective collecting an outstanding debt and that if you don’t pay, you’ll end up in jail. The problem is that you’ve never borrowed a dime in your life, or that the debt is no longer valid.
You have a fake debt collector in your hands.
This phenomenon has exploded in recent years. These phony detectives pick their targets in different ways.
It’s either they call a random phone number hoping to get someone who’s borrowed money in the past, which is often the case since many Americans were forced to borrow money due to economic recession, or they call an actual ex-debtor who has already paid off the debt.
As soon as they have someone on the phone, the vicious money extortion cycle begins. And although these calls usually originate from India, these callers manage to sound like they’re US- based law enforcement agents ready to arrest the poor victim immediately if he doesn’t send the money.
One such operation, halted by the FTC, has made over 2 and a half million calls and has stolen over 5 million dollars from unsuspecting consumers.
Callercenter.com happens to report a large number of such complaints on the website everyday and being the person who answers the victims’ emails, I must say that it’s heartbreaking to read how much emotional distress the victims suffered when they received such calls.
There is this report from a lady who received over a dozen calls to her home. When she stopped answering the phone, the crooks started calling her at work and even called her neighbors. She felt extremely harassed then that it came to a point where she almost sent them money although she knew she would be paying off a debt she didn’t owe. Good thing the transaction was unsuccessful.
It has also been reported that the callers usually ask for amounts anywhere between $300 and $2000 in bogus charges. While it may be small for some, it’s unfortunate that for some families, these few hundred dollars make a whole lot of difference. It becomes a choice between to eat and not pay their utility bills or pay them and go hungry.
There are also reports from victims who were utterly frustrated and reported to the police. However, since the calls were placed over the internet lines and came from a different country, the local police department didn’t have a choice but refer these cases to the FBI. Unfortunately, since it is difficult to connect these calls together, many of these investigations end up in the cold case archives.
But there’s always hope. The more calls these criminals make, the greater number of complaints end up filed with the agency that has the power to strike the money grabbers behind these calls, the FTC. Once they cut off these violators’ controlling force, the whole operation crumbles from the top down. Let us just hope that FTC can eradicate these snakes faster than they can breed.