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Menacing calls from fake debt collectors

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Some area residents are falling victim to threatening phone scams about money owed. Many residents are receiving harassing calls from people pretending to be debt collectors demanding money owed for loans, bills, or credit cards.

Janna Kiehl with the Better Business Bureau says, "Everyday people call us, and ask why am I getting calls that I don't know anything about. Or why is someone harassing me, and saying I that owe a debt that I don't think I owe." And they're threatened if they don't pay right away, they'll be arrested.

The scammer says he's "Eric James" most times, but doesn't give a company name. And on the caller ID, the number shows all zero's. Kiehl says, "You get a phone call, and it has nothing to do with anything that you owe. Or anything that you've done. Or they could have a wrong number. Or it could just be someone who's just trying to take money from you."

Many of you on our Facebook page say you've experienced this scam. Some have even fallen victim paying $400. Kiehl says, "If they're getting these phone calls, then something is wrong. Either they owe a debt, they don't know about it, or they don't remember it. Or the person calling thinks that the person they are calling owes a debt. And maybe they don't, and maybe it's identity theft."

In the case you have a doubt of owing money, the BBB says you should initiate a call to the company. Or check your credit report online to verify. She says, "Most government agencies will not contact you with a threatening phone call that says they're going to arrest you. Or they're going to serve you with papers."

Debt collectors don't have the right to call anonymously nor harass you. And you can request written proof of debt.

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10.

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