FOX 8 Defenders: Payday loan phone scam warning - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

FOX 8 Defenders: Payday loan phone scam warning

New Orleans, La.-- Con artists are always looking for ways to rip you off, and they're using a threatening phone scam that is convincing consumers to wire money over the phone.  The FOX 8 Defenders have the important warning.

Payday loans promise to loan you quick cash with interest till payday.  "It is prevalent now of course because of the economic times.  People are using these payday loans," said Cynthia Albert with the Better Business Bureau.  Now the agency warns, con artists are calling people saying they owe money on a payday loan that never existed.

Wes Cook said he got a cold call on his cell phone.  "It came up as unknown, and so I didn't answer it, and went back and listened to the voice mail after the fact," explained Cook.  Cook saved the message and replayed it for FOX 8.  Here's part of what the caller left on Cook's phone: 'this is special investigator Deborah Williams, contacting you in regards to a legal complaint that is being filed against you.'

"It said that there was some sort of legal action against me, and that I needed to have my attorney contact someone within 24 to 48 hours.  There was a restraining order involved.  It was pretty crazy," said Cook.  He told FOX 8, the message, which sounded official, was alarming, but it wasn't until he returned the call to a Virginia number from Global Legal Group that he realized something wasn't right.

"They had an incorrect address.. an address that was 10-years-old.  Email and other contact information that was just never mine in the first place, and then they said that it was a payday loan that I didn't pay back," said Cook.  That's what stood out.  Cook said the caller wanted him to pay-back a loan for $1,000.94, but he said he's never taken advantage of a payday loan, ever.  "Of course I told them that I would have to look into it, and figure out what my next step was, and I just never called them back," said Cook.

The BBB says that's the best route, because in a threatening way, scammers can pressure you to give up confidential information that could put a dent in your bank account and even worse, steal your identity.

"Normally they tell you.. 'wire this money to us and do it today.  If you don't do it today, we're gonna.. we're gonna press charges,' and so the people are just so taken off guard and they hurry up.  The ones that do fall for it go ahead and do it within a moment.  They start giving information out, they wire the money, and then it's too late," explained Albert.  Plus, she said wiring money could make it harder for law enforcement to track down the bad guys.

If you get a call like this, the BBB wants you to contact them and the FBI.  The FOX 8 Defenders and volunteers with the National Council of Jewish Women work to solve consumer concerns. Call them at 1-877-670-6397, or go to www.fox8live.com.

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