I don’t know about you, but when I was a teenager and young adult, I led an adventurous life and when times were tough I needed to borrow money on occasion. I think many of us have been in that boat. Once or twice, I even took out a payday loan. However this article is about a loan I did not take out. Now what is going on here?
My parent’s house had been receiving call after call from supposed detectives or investigators saying I had charges against me and they were putting out warrants etc. ( These are scare tactics to get information and money from you.)
Today I actually answered the phone, and it was a recorded message claiming to be ChexSystems. Now ChexSystems is a company that many banks go to to check your credit, see if you have bounced checks, etc. According to wikipedia, Eighty percent of all commercial banks and credit unions in the United States use ChexSystems as a step in the consumer checking or savings account application process. But this is not the same company, although they may like you to assume so.
Secondly, I called the number back and when I asked who it was or what company it was, I was hungup on twice.
The third time I got a young lady who gave me her supposed name and claimed to be an investigator, she gave me a lot of info and she had my social, my drivers license number, address and more. She said that Advance America was filing charges on me for $725 and if i did not pay today that they would put out three warrants on me:
1. Malicious intent to defraud financial institute
2. Breach on contract
3. Theft of goods and services
When I asked for contact info, I was given One Company name, an email with a different company website, and lastly a website that differed from the first two contacts. Along with the initial phone call of them claiming to be ChexSystems.
I got as much information from her as possible such as the Bank the check was supposedly written from, the check number, the amount, the date, the name of the person or company filing charges (supposedly Advance America), and lastly all of the contact info for her company she would give me. I asked for more information but was told by law she could not give me the number to the bank on my check but that I could google it, then she supposedly googled it and gave me a number that was out of service. That bank in question was Commercial Federal Bank which in 2005 was bought out, acquired or merged with Bank of the West.
I called the Bank of the West and they had no record of me or any bank account of me having with them or Commercial Federal. Their customer service was excellent and they did as much to help me as they could.
That search being fruitless my next step was to call Advance America. I got in touch with their customer service, spoke with a lovely lady named Tye, and she searched their system again with no results. Then she told me about a Payday Loan scam that has been going around. She said that unfortunately by the time people call them it is already too late and they have already paid money to these people threatening to throw them in jail, press warrants, liens, and others threats.
Now, I am left putting my bank account on Alert, along with the credit agencies and am will be getting a new drivers licenses as well. I am also filing a complaint and charges with my local law enforcement.
Tip: Watch your mail too, I suggest getting a post office box for all of your banking mail and other important documents. There are more and more mail theives every day. This is evident especially during the holidays with people stealing packages along with birthday and holiday cards hoping to get money, gift cards and other things that belong to you and your loved ones.
Now you may not think these things are important but when it happens to you, then you will know how serious it can be. Be careful about how much information you put out online. Invest in some sort of program with your bank like IDSECURE or Lifelock to help keep tabs on your credit. Scams like this and others are going on all the time. Some scammers and even debt collectors will threaten, yell, and demean you. It is important to protect yourself, do your research and know your rights.
You can also visit: www.consumer.gov/idtheft if you think your indentity has been compromised.
Find out more information on what is going on with this on the FBI website:
If you are a victim or know someone who may be here are some tips shared from the FBI website:
If you receive these calls, do not follow the caller’s instructions. Rather, you should:
- Notify your banking institutions.
- Contact the three major credit bureaus and request an alert be put on your file.
- Contact your local law enforcement agencies if you feel you are in immediate danger.
- File a complaint at www.IC3.gov.
Tips to avoid becoming a victim of this scam:
- Never give your Social Security number—or personal information of any kind—over the telephone or online unless you initiate the contact.
- Be suspicious of any e-mail with urgent requests for personal financial information. The e-mail may include upsetting or exciting but false statements to get you to react immediately.
- Avoid filling out forms in e-mail messages that request personal information.
- Ensure that your browser is up-to-date and security patches have been applied.
- Clear your cache when you are done using the web.
- Don’t save your passwords on your computer.
- Check your bank, credit, and debit card statements regularly to make sure that there are no unauthorized transactions. If anything looks suspicious, contact your bank and all card issuers.
- When you contact companies, use numbers provided on the back of cards or statements
Last of all do your research. If someone calls you, get as much information about them as possible and give as little about yourself as possible. Secondly, research everything they told you.
When I called Advance America they told me about the scam. Now, I am not a current customer of theirs and they still went out of their way to be of help and to be of service to me. That is what I call a company with integrity.
Here is what Advance America has to say on their website as well:
Have you been called by someone claiming you have defaulted on a loan and will face criminal prosecution unless you immediately wire them the money? It is probably a scam.
Have you been called by someone claiming you have been pre-approved for a loan and all you have to do is send $150-300 for a processing fee? It is a scam. We do not conduct transactions over the phone.
Here’s what to do:
If you receive a suspicious telephone call:
- Ask the caller to provide their name, company name, address, phone number, and official documentation verifying the debt.
- Don’t provide or confirm any bank account, credit card, social security number or other personal information over the phone.
- Report suspicious calls to companies who’s names are being used and report to your local law enforcement.
I would like to thank both Advance America and Bank of the West for being such a great help in helping me take care of my situation. I hope we can stop several if not all of these people in their tracks. Please share this with your friends and family so they won’t fall victim. The battle has only just begun….