October 7, 2008- BBB | Greater MD is advocating consumers to be wary of a scam that goes by the disguise of "The U.S. National Bank Federal Crime Division." Reports share a similar theme. Victims indicate that when the callers demands are not met, they are threatened with harsh tones and arrest.
Victims report the callers assert they are U.S. government employees but raise doubt because they posses heavy foreign accents. First, the scammer will ask you to confirm your Social Security number. But when victims don't cooperate, they become increasingly aggressive, employing scare tactics to get what they want. Past calls to BBB have come from audibly shaken victims who explain their past 'Payday' loans were referenced. The scammer uses the information in an attempt to frighten them into giving into demands for personal information and money.
A BBB investigation could not reveal a Web site or a physical address for the so-called division. The US National Bank Federal Crime Division is not affiliated with any government agency. Victim reports indicate the scammers have used numerous phone numbers by which to carry out their plot. Angie Barnett, president & CEO, BBB | Greater MD warns, "State agencies and local police are aware of this scam and ask victims to contact local law enforcement should they receive a call."
"In the event this happens to you or someone you know, its imperative you contact all three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion and request a fraud alert be placed on your report," advises Barnett. "This will protect you from further damage to your financial status."
BBB| Greater MD offers these phone solicitation tips:
· If you have caller ID and do not recognize the number, do not answer.
· Never give out personal or financial information (Social Security number, bank account and credit card numbers)
· Ask for the state or federal agency with whom they are registered.
· Tell them to put their request in writing- but do not feel obligated to provide your address.
· Gather as much information as you can about the caller and organization; name, title, agency name, address, phone number, supervisor's name, and record the day and time of the call
If you have been victimized by this unscrupulous phone solicitation, please contact your local police department, the MD Attorney General's office at www.oag.state.md.us/, Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov or 1-877-FTC-HELP and your BBB at www.bbb.org to file a complaint.
About BBB of Greater Maryland
Headquartered in Baltimore, BBB of Greater Maryland is a non-profit organization that was established in 1922. It serves 18 Maryland counties and Baltimore City. In the first six months of 2008, BBB provided 534,013 Reliability Reports on businesses in its service area. BBB of Greater Maryland is supported by Accredited Businesses that have passed a comprehensive review, met 13 standards of trust, and that agree to uphold those standards including commitments to advertise honestly, and to address marketplace disputes quickly, respectfully, and reasonably. For more information please contact BBB of Greater Maryland at 410-347-3990 or visit www.bbb.org.