In recent weeks, Madigan's office has seen a rise in consumer
complaints about the bogus collection calls. Most of the consumers
report that they have taken out payday loans in the past, usually
from an online lender, but paid off the loans long ago. In at least
one instance, the consumer reportedly filled out an online payday
loan application but never completed the process.
that these complaints involve outright con artists, not innocent
mistakes by legitimate debt collectors. Victims who have contacted
Madigan's office report that the phone calls seem to originate from
outside the United States.
Often, the fake collector already knows personal information
about the consumer, such as their name, Social Security number and
place of employment, which can lead the consumer to believe they are
dealing with a legitimate collector.
Also, the scammers usually have the consumer's bank account
information on file and ask the consumer to confirm the accuracy of
Many times, the con artist will claim to be affiliated with a law
enforcement agency. In almost every case, the bogus collector
threatens the victim with legal action, including a lawsuit or
arrest, if they don't make a payment right away. The scammers
attempt to force victims into an immediate payment and ask them to
authorize a direct withdrawal from their checking account. In some
cases, they ask their victims to sign a promissory note and submit
it to the bogus collector by fax. Some victims reported to the
attorney general's office that they have paid hundreds of dollars
before realizing they have been scammed.
The bogus debt collectors have used a variety of names: Morgan &
Associates, Federal Bureau of Investigators, DNR Recovery, DNI
Recovery, Legal Accounts Association, Department of Law and
Enforcement, CashNet USA, America Legal Services, Quick Cash, and
Although many of these names are fake, some are names of
legitimate businesses that the purported debt collectors may be
using without permission.
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The attorney general urges people who receive a suspicious debt
collection call to remember the following advice:
You cannot go to
jail for failing to pay a debt.
If you are
threatened in any way by the debt collector, hang up and file a
complaint with the attorney general's office.
Do not give out
any personal information over the telephone, including bank
account numbers or credit card numbers.
When in doubt, ask
the debt collector to provide you with documentation that
substantiates the debt they are trying to collect.
Contact the original creditor and ask
whether the debt has been paid. If it has not, before making a
payment, confirm that the debt was sold to a third-party
Consumers can contact the Illinois attorney general's office at
www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov or by calling the Attorney
General's Consumer Fraud Hotline at the following numbers:
[Text from file received from the Illinois attorney