Scam Alert! Fake Bill Collectors Target Debit Cards

There is a scam going around that preys on people's bank accounts. A Newschannel 6 viewer called us right after he got a call from the scammer, wanting to sound the alarm.

Earl Cook got the call Wednesday evening."The guy claimed that I had opened a Visa account a year and a half ago and made payments on it for a year and I owned $800," he said.

The problem was, Earl never had such a card. "I have had Visa cards in the past, but I've never had one with more than a $250 limit so there's no way I could run up a $600 bill with charges totaling $800," he said.

Still, he listened to what the bogus bill collector had to say. He said it almost sounded real. "He had a little bit of information about me, just enough to make me think that maybe this is a real collection agency," It made Earl wonder. "I'd be happy to pay you some money if I really owe the money but you need to send me something in the mail, I'm not just going to give you information over the phone. He started coming back arguing with me," he explained.

Then things took a disturbing turn. "He really wanted my debit card number and that was my real big clue that something was not right here. I wasn't going to give that out over the phone. I know that if I would have, money would have certainly started disappearing out of that account," he said.

Earl called the Better Business Bureau. The BBB says it is common for scammers to pose as debt collectors. The best advice is to not give any information over the phone. For the scammers, Earl has some other advice. "Find a different line of work. You can make a living honestly, you don't have to steal money from people," he offered.

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6