AUSTIN – On March 21 Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a warning to Spanish-speaking consumers, alerting them to scam artists posing as debt collectors calling on behalf of government entities.
In recent cases, a caller claims to represent the Texas Supreme Court and demands payment of outstanding debts supposedly incurred by consumers sometime in the past, according to a press release.
“Every day, Texans unfortunately lose money to scams and frauds, and my office is committed to protecting consumers by spreading the word about such fraudulent activity, and informing them about what to do if they fall victim,” said Paxton.
“The first line of defense against scammers and con artists is education, and a wide variety of important topics are addressed in the consumer protection section of our website.”
According to complaints, the person calling says the consumer can either appear in court and pay the alleged debt – which varies from $1,000 to $7,000 – or resolve the matter immediately by sending funds directly to the scammers.
How the debt was incurred is never explained. The form of payment requested by the caller is either through pre-paid cash cards or wired funds through Western Union.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office encourages every Texan who receives a similar call from a purported government debt collection agency to first verify that the request is legitimate.
To do so, Texans should directly contact the government agency that is allegedly seeking the funds by using a phone number for the government agency that is independent of the one provided by the caller, the press release states.
If you do receive a call from a debt collector claiming to be calling on behalf of a government or law enforcement entity, please try to copy the telephone number of the caller, then stop the call and contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 621-0508 or (512) 463-2070.