DENVER (CBS4) – A threatening caller demands credit card payments for loans that don’t exist. It’s a scam and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation calls it the No. 1 type of fraud it’s seeing right now.
Victims come from Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Wyoming and Nebraska. In this case the con artists have noticeable foreign accents and the victims say they are relentless.
Ralph Gagliardi is the CBI Special Agent in Charge.
“Our unit is receiving this type of complaint about three to six calls a week for the last 6 months,” Gagliardi said.
A caller represents himself as an “officer” for the Colorado Department of Law and Investigations. He demands debit or credit card payments for a factious loan.
“The aggression is key. They are really putting the pressure on the victim to pay,” Gagliardi said.
The phone number comes up as a 303 number. When CBS4 consumer investigator Jodi Brooks searched the number online, she found a message board of victims. (http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-303-353-0621)
One person wrote the suspect would “call 60 to 70 times a day.” Someone else wrote calls came to her “place of employment 18 times within 10 minutes.”
At times the caller said he is with the police and has called local police to the victim’s home on a welfare check. Other times the caller uses threats.
Gagliardi said some of the threats include “maybe breaking their knees or they’ll even threaten sexual violence.”
The CBI has successfully reached the callers.
“They’ve indicated in the past they’re working in a boiler room setting,” Gagliardi said.
Brooks called the number. Before identifying herself the person who answered the phone said, “My name is Mr. Anderson. I am the attorney for this department, and it’s regarding a lawsuit that has been filed against your name.” Brooks explained she was a reporter. She asked him about demanding payment over the phone for non-existent debts.
“(I) just call them and let them know that this has happened, so they just need to make a wise decision on what they need to do. That’s it. I don’t want any credit card information. I’m not taking anyone’s money,” the person replied.
The CBI says people have given credit card information. Gagliardi said charges are “debited to a bank overseas.”
The fear is there are more victims out there.
When asked about tracing the call, Gagliardi said, “It’s a number that’s routed back either through Canada or routes back to Pakistan.”
So don’t be afraid to just hang up on the caller.
Fraud investigators said the con artists claim to have a list of people they call. It’s not clear where those names come from. The suspects did offer to sell the CBI the list, but the CBI didn’t go for it.
Remember, never provide any personal financial information over the phone. If unsure about the call, ask for call back information and check it out.