News5 viewer avoids losing money to suspicious debt collector call

Caller said a lien was being put on her home, promised aggressive follow-ups
News5 viewer avoids losing money to suspicious debt collector call
Posted at 5:00 AM, Nov 17, 2022

COLORADO SPRINGS — Not everyone who calls saying that you owe a debt is legitimate. Federal Trade Commission investigators say they are often fraudsters who are just trying to scare you into paying them. News5 spoke with one of our viewers who hopes her experience will help others protect their wallets.

This out of the blue phone call could happen to any of us. Deb Chamberlain says she got a call from someone who knew a lot about her, threatening to put a lien on her house because she owed them money, but after some research she says it was bogus.

”I could’ve answered it, but again, I didn’t recognize it, so I just let it go to voicemail and later went back and listened and it was quite shocking,” said Chamberlain.

The caller left an aggressive voicemail saying a lien was put on her property and other action was being taken if Deb didn’t pay up right away.

”I had 24 hours to rectify it, or a lien was going to be put on my house, they were going to garnish my wages, go to my place of employment, and also stop by my house where they actually had the correct street,” said Chamberlain.

She didn’t respond to the call, instead, she reached out to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder who did not have records for any of the claims made by the random caller.

”I’m feeling like my privacy was invaded because they had a lot of information that I don’t know where they got it from,” said Chamberlain.

The clerk and recorder’s office says they’ve heard about experiences like this before and Deb did the right thing.

”We see this stuff in the community kind of ebb and flow. You’ll see it pop up for a couple of days and then it goes away for months,” said El Paso County Clerk Chuck Broerman. ”Set yourself at ease contact our office, our recording department and we’ll be able to give you the straight skinny.”

Deb says she’s concerned that somebody will pick up a call like this and they’d be startled into responding immediately, possibly paying a fraudster. It’s why she trusted News5 with her story.

”I’ve seen some of your other reports and that’s what prompted me to call Channel 5,” said Chamberlain. ”I have a feeling if people would share these kinds of stories more often we could prevent some of them from happening as often.”

It can be tough to identify a legitimate debt collection call from a fraudster. The FTC lays out some of the steps you can take to verify the call and protect yourself.

A caller may be a fake debt collector if they...

  • want you to repay a debt you don’t recognize
  • refuse to give you their mailing address or phone number
  • pressure you, or try to scare you into paying by threatening to report you to law enforcement or have you arrested

Read more here


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