Protect yourself from bogus debt collection phone calls

OLATHE, Kan. - A threatening phone call from someone who claims to be a bill collector can be alarming for anyone.  Now, con artists, in an effort to get at your credit card information, will try to trick you into believing you owe someone money.

Consumer prosecutors say they are seeing a steady stream to an uptick with these types of calls. At times, investigators say the bogus caller phones you repeatedly, even at your workplace. 

They claim to be a collection agency and the caller often tries to get your credit card information.

"We see a lot of elderly targeted in these situations," Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said.   

Prosecutors who crack down on consumer scams like this say don't fall for it.

"In many instances, the consumer has not conducted transactions with this company," Howe said, "Then they'll start withdrawing money from it (credit card)."

This week, the Kansas Attorney General put out a consumer alert saying debt collection scams are on the rise.

To stay safe:

1) Ask the caller for verification in writing.  Federal law requires debt collectors to send you written notice.

2)  Never give out personal information over the phone.

3) Check your credit report.  If you get a call for a debt you don't owe, chances are your identity may have been stolen.

Investigators say a lot of these scam calls come from overseas, making it tough to catch the bad guys.

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