The Colorado Attorney General’s Office, in a recent press release, warned its in-state consumers of a “debt-collection” scam whereby imposters pose as law enforcement officials or government agencies. This warning was triggered by a sharp increase in the number of reports to the AG’s Office of threatening telephone calls and emails as part of this ongoing scam. Specifically, the Colorado AG’s office reported that complaints about this scam have increased by an astounding 1,350% between 2013 and 2014.
Included in the AG’s Office’s warning was a list of fictitious payday lender names being used by the imposters, including:
- ACS Inc.
- ACS Legal Group
- Ace Cash Services
- Ace Cash Advance
- Advance Cash Service
- American Cash Advance
The AG’s Office also issued a general list of signs to help consumers identify this scam, including:
- Telephone calls or emails where there are threats of arrest or prosecution;
- Telephone calls or emails with claims that they are being made or sent on behalf of or part of law enforcement or a government agency;
- Emails containing typos and grammatical errors;
- Telephone calls or emails containing requests for payment via prepaid card or money transfer;
- Telephone calls or emails containing requests for personally identifiable information;
- Refusal by the requester to provide a mailing address; and
- Refusal by the requester to mail proof of debt such as a validation notice.
Further, the AG’s Office’s warning included tips and resources for its in-state consumers to question calls from “debt collectors”, conduct their own due diligence, and protect themselves, including providing a sample email representative of those utilized in this scam.
As part of the warning, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers explained, “These scam artists pretend to be from companies with familiar-sounding names and use high-pressure demands to get people to pay using prepaid money cards. The caller threatens to report you to the FBI, FTC and even to your employer if you don’t immediately pay up, however, law enforcement and government agencies do not threaten to arrest or prosecute people for their unpaid debt and do not send arrest warrants via email”.
As previously reported, this warning comes a month after the Colorado AG’s Office filed suit against certain in-state foreclosure law firms, alleging fraud and violations of state consumer protection laws.
It is readily apparent that the Colorado AG’s Office – and the Colorado Attorney General John Suthers in particular – has focused its attention on the prevention and prosecution of fraudulent and shady practices to protect its in-state consumers.