Don’t be scammed by robocalls

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s Consumer Protection team has released a new Consumer Alert “Robocalls Threatening Arrest” to help Michigan consumers understand robocalls and how to avoid being scammed by them.

Recent robocalls have been threatening consumers with arrest for failure to pay requested fees.

“Most people carry a cell phone wherever they go, meaning scammers are finding ways to contact residents 24/7,” said Schuette. “The easiest step to take if you get a suspicious or threatening call: hang up. Neither the state of Michigan nor the federal government will ever threaten you via phone.”

What the Calls Sound Like:

If you answer a phone call and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, that’s a robocall, and it is probably a scam designed to get you to give your personal information or money. Do not call back and do not provide any information unless you’ve initiated the call or you know it is reliable.

Government entities do not make robocalls threatening you with arrest or asking for immediate payment.

A sample robocall threatening arrest follows:

“From the headquarters which will get expired in next 24 working hours. And once it get expired after that you will be taken under custody by the local cops as there are four serious allegations pressed on your name at this moment. We request you to get back to us so that we can discuss this case before taking any legal action against you.”

SPOT IT: Fake messages

– Someone calls from the government instilling panic and urgency that there are pending charges or an outstanding case against you is a common threat.

– Listen for broken English or poor grammar: many robocalls are placed from foreign countries.

– The top 10 worst area code offenders for 2017 included: (202); (469); (312); (817); (832); (210); (281); (909) and (214).

STOP IT: Don’t get scammed

– Hang up if you are asked to pay with a cash-to-cash money transfer; a PIN from a cash reload card; or a remotely-created payment using your bank account information. It is illegal for any telemarketer to accept any of those forms of payment.

– Report government imposters to the Federal Trade Commission.

– Always ask for written verification of any debt. Never pay a debt by wiring money or using a pre-paid debit card. Even if you owe a debt, you still have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

– Consider using an app for your mobile phone to block robocalls and likely scams. RoboKiller received an award from the Federal Trade Commission, this app does however charge a small fee.

REPORT FRAUD

To report a scam, file a complaint, or get additional information, contact the Michigan Department of Attorney General:

Consumer Protection Division

P.O. Box 30213 Lansing, MI 48909

517-373-1140

Fax: 517-241-3771

Toll free: 877-765-8388

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