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Con artist threaten to have you arrested or garnish your paycheck unless you pay a debt.

Here is an e-mail that I received from another attorney, “I’m trying to figure out if this is a scam or not: Our client received a call from an investigator with the state police, telling her he is going to be picking her up and hold without bail for violations of 18 USC 1343.  He indicated it originated from a debt – something along the lines of wire fraud etc. “

In all of these scams the con artist offers to stop the arrest, garnishment or attachment, but first needs information in order to help you.

The con artist needs your social security number, mother’s maiden name, your bank account information, etc. NEVER GIVE THIS INFORMATION TO ANYONE.

First, look closely at the demand or “warrant”.  In this case there is no such agency as the Arizona State Police.  Arizona has the Department of Public Safety “DPS” and Arizona Highway Patrol is part of DPS.  This agency is strictly traffic oriented.

This is a spin on the old scam where a supposedly Jury Commissioner was going to send “the sheriff out to arrest you for not reporting for jury duty today”.   California had a rash of scams in which “Agent” Jones from the “Federal Bureau of Collections” called clients try to shake them down.  Again, there is no such organization.  Another scam is the e-mail purporting to be from the IRS.  According to the IRS they will never e-mail you a demand.  They will mail information to your address.

In all of these scams the con artist offers to stop the arrest, garnishment or attachment, but first needs information in order to “help” you.  The con artist needs your social security number, mother’s maiden name, your bank account information, etc.  NEVER GIVE THIS INFORMATION TO ANYONE.

An elderly man in Prescott was scammed recently.  He received a call saying he won a Mercedes but to receive it he was told he had to buy a gift card at Walmart and give the gift card number over the phone to the place which was “awarding” the Mercedes. The calls came from Jamaica (according to an article in the DC Courier).

If you get any calls like this talk to an attorney, the Attorney General’s office or the police.  You will never be arrested for not paying a bill, unless it is child support (at least in Arizona).  You can be arrested for failure to show at a court hearing about paying your bills.  There is no gold at the end of the rainbow, no Mercedes and no million dollars left to you by a distant relative (living in Nigeria), nor is there a friend stranded in a foreign country who needs money to get home.

The moral to the story – collection scams abound.  In fact the worse the economy the more the scams.  Important tip: never give out any personal information to someone who contacts you.   Always be suspicious of any contacts that offer to “help” you avoid scary situations.  You will even see these offers from attorneys.  Be very careful.

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Diane L. Drain

Diane L. Drain, bankruptcy attorney, retired law professor, mentor and community spokesperson.

About Diane Drain:

Diane is a well respected Arizona bankruptcy and foreclosure attorney. As a retired law professor, she believes in offering everyone, not just her clients, advice about bankruptcy and Arizona foreclosure laws. Diane is also a mentor to hundreds of Arizona attorneys.

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