About a week ago, I was made aware of a fraud group operating from a Tampa, Florida number, who were calling people and using some pretty heavy-handed tactics to collect (steal) money. Interestingly enough, the person that let me know about this had never done business with the company they were impersonating.
Please note, there might be a reason for alarm even if you don't think you owe a debt and a collector calls. With more and more people becoming identity theft victims, a call from a collector could be the first notification a person gets that someone else is using their information. Of course, in this instance, since the calls were bogus, it is not the case. In fact, if you give these scammers any information they can use, you will likely become an identity theft victim yourself.
The person who provided me with this information also provided me with the number she was called from. I called the number and, after a slight delay, I got a person with a Indian accent, who identified himself as "William Scott" from ACS, Inc. Leading him on, I told him my wife was always getting us into trouble by borrowing money — and that we had received a message to call them. He asked me for my wife's name and I made one up. He then told me to wait a minute, while he looked up the file. After about a minute, he said he had located the file and that she owed $500.00, and said this was a "serious legal issue we needed to get cleared up right away." He even offered to settle for $300.00, if I paid that day with a debit/credit card.
During my conversation with William, I could hear the chatter of other calls being made. Listening carefully, I noted that all the people, "chattering" in the background seemed to have Southern Asian (probably Indian) accents. This leads me to believe that the call was being forwarded, possibly overseas. This is not hard to do and there are a lot of legitimate call centers where callers are forwarded from a local number, all over the world.