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State Banking Commissioner Urges Citizens to be Aware of
Phantom Debt Collector Scam

June 20, 2012 

Connecticut State Banking Commissioner Howard F. Pitkin urged Connecticut residents to be aware of new scam designed to defraud citizens.

Recently, unscrupulous individuals have been posing as debt collectors.  These individuals contact Connecticut residents demanding money for repayment of certain debts.  The callers harass citizens and inform them that law enforcement will be coming to their door to arrest them if they do not pay immediately.  The phony debt collectors may tell consumers that outstanding warrants for fraud have been issued against them.  They have even posed as federal officials, calling people’s homes, cell phones and employers continuously.

 “These calls have been increasingly common in Connecticut,” stated Commissioner Pitkin.  “The Department of Banking is fielding about 40 calls a month on this issue. Recently, we had a consumer turn herself in to the New Haven police because she believed she was going to be arrested soon.” 

Typically, the scammers target persons who have taken out or are in the process of repaying a “payday” loan. The callers attempt to prey upon these individuals using fear of arrest while these citizens are experiencing financial hardships. In the end, the consumer will have paid the phony debt collector their hard earned cash and may still be held responsible for the original debt on their loan.

“If you are contacted by a debt collector you believe to be fraudulent, please contact the Banking Department immediately,” advised Commissioner Pitkin.  “We will be able to tell you if the caller is legitimate and licensed to operate in the state.” Commissioner Pitkin concluded, “You should always make sure you know who you are paying and that your dollars are going to the right place.”

 For more information or assistance, please contact the Department of Banking’s Consumer Affairs Division, at (860) 240-8170, or Toll-free, at 1-800-731-8225.  Complaints may also be filed on-line, at www.ct.gov/dob