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Wis. DFI alerts consumers to fake debt collectors
MADISON, Wis. (3/14/12)--The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has issued an alert to consumers about phone calls from bogus debt collectors. Credit unions can help by providing advice to their members on what to do if they receive such calls.

The callers attempt to collect money on loans that consumers never received or loans received but for amounts they do not owe, said DFI Tuesday.

"DFI has received calls from dozens of concerned Wisconsin consumers who have been targeted by these callers," said DFI Secretary Peter Bildsten.

Credit unions can warn members to be suspicious of callers attempting to collect debt over the phone and provide these tips for handling such calls:

  • Ask callers for their name, company, street address and telephone number. Refuse to discuss any debt until you get a written validation notice in the mail. It must include the amount of the alleged debt, the name of the collection agency, the name of the creditor allegedly owed, and the consumer's rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
  • Refuse to speak to the callers if they haven't provided a written notice from the collector. If collectors call back, hang up or do not answer subsequent calls.
  • Do not give the caller personal financial or sensitive information such as bank or credit union account, credit card or Social Security number to someone you don't know. Scam artists such as fake debt collectors can use the information to commit identity theft.
  • Report the call to your state financial regulator, the Federal Trade Commission  at www.wdfi.org or the Federal Bureau of Investigation at www.IC3.gov.
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