Friday, August 15, 2014

Beware of these scams in Maine

I recently received an email from the Maine Turnpike Authority about an amount due on my E-ZPass. I found this interesting, since I do not have an E-ZPass. Turns out this is just one of the many recent scams going around. Scam artists are getting very creative and persistent. Since I have encountered several lately, I wanted to share them with you. Hibbard-Marianna-M-Fenton copy
I've recently been speaking with folks who have received threatening phone calls about a "payday" loan they didn't pay off. The demand is for a substantial amount of money because of interest and fees for nonpayment. It seems this scam tends to prey on folks who have been online, previously, looking into payday loans, or who have actually taken out a payday loan in the past. Often the victim has no recollection of taking out a payday loan that wasn't paid off but have previously taken out a payday loan so this seems legitimate.
The consumer receives a call threatening arrest and prosecution for fraud, or that someone is on the way over to serve them with court documents unless they pay right then. The caller seems to have personal information about the consumer, adding to the seeming legitimacy of the call. Don't be taken in by this scam. First off, you will never receive a call warning you that if you do not pay, immediately, you will be served with a summons or that an officer is on the way to arrest you. It just does not work that way.It is a scam. Secondly, there is a lot of information about you available on the internet.
If you have ever filled out an application for a payday loan you have shared enough information to put yourself at risk for receiving one of these calls. Another related scam is a phone call scam, allegedly from the local court advising of a missed court date or jury duty. The scammer threatens arrest if you do not pay a fine. A court will NEVER call you and demand payment of a fine for missing a court date or jury duty and threaten arrest unless you agree to pay over the phone. Another court-related scam is an email scam whereby you receive an email allegedly sent from a court with a notice to appear about a civil matter. There are variations on this scam. If you click on an attachment a virus will attack your computer and ruin files or steal importation personal information stored on your hard drive. Or, in the alternative, there will be a phone number for you to call about a missed court date, or litigation, often in another state. When you call the number, to find out why you are receiving the e-mail, you will be threatened with arrest if you do not pay a fine, or payment of some sort. This type of thing is ALWAYS a scam.

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