Phony Debt

Have you heard of “Phantom debt”?

I’ve read a number of reports that debt scams are on the rise. The average American owes an estimated $90,000. So it’s no surprise they’re falling for “phantom debt” scams. You need to be aware of this threat. Here’s an example of a fake-debt email. Dear Customer, $1,000 has been charged successfully and it will appear on your bank statement in 24 to 48 hours. If you want to cancel this charge, connect to our team at this number.

Well people over 60 are their prime targets. They answer their phones and tend to respond to questionable emails. However, younger victims are also targeted. Thieves reach them through TikTok, Instagram and other social media sites. Some cyber-thieves pose as student loan collectors. Others seek payment for credit cards, auto debt or unpaid mortgages. Some impersonate the IRS, law firms and retailers. The ruthless ones appeal to those with a death in the family – attempting to “collect” on false bills.

Now if you get a collection call, find out who’s calling. Ask for the name of the collector, the company, its address and phone number. If they refuse that information, it’s a red flag. Then ask them to validate the debt. If they refuse to tell you the amount, the name of the current or original creditor, that’s another red flag. Report phantom debt to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov. Now the Bible says, “Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the Lord, but those of blameless ways are his delight.” (Proverbs 11:20)

If you’ve been helped by Crown or this radio station, can I invite you to support us this year? If you already do, thank you for your generosity! Every gift regardless of the size will have a big impact. You can begin giving today at crown.org.