On November 14, Maine’s Attorney General Janet T. Mills issued a warning to the state’s residents regarding calls from “scammers” demanding immediate payment on supposed debts.  Mills’ warning stemmed from many recent reports to her office of aggressive calls from “scammers” attempting to get consumers to make payments by wire transfer or pre-paid debit card.

Specifically, Mills warned residents that they should be very suspicious of anyone calling and demanding an immediate payment of a debt.  She noted that any calls requiring payment by any reloadable cash cards or a wire service should be afforded greater caution.

Further, Mills provided general advice to Maine’s residents, including the following:

  • Be very suspicious of anyone calling and demanding an immediate payment of a debt.
  • Do not let a “scammer” convince you that they are legitimate by stating general information pertaining to your personal information or financial history.  By virtue of the internet, a “scammer” can obtain consumer-specific  information that may allow them to appear genuine.
  • No legitimate business, government entity, or genuine debt collection agency is going to call a consumer without having first sent notice by mail.
  • If you are unsure about the legitimacy of the caller, hang up the phone and call the entity they claimed to be from.

According to Mills, “[t]he names and the details of the scams vary,” and  “[t]ypically the caller pretends they are from a business that you know and are attempting to collect an old debt[,] … they say you have won a lottery, … [or] they even claim to be from the state or federal government.”

The takeaway from Attorney General Mills’ warning is to be cautious – if something does not seem right, confirm your suspicions.