The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

June 26, 2013

Phone scammer claims to be debt collector

By STACY MILLBERG - smillberg@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — A telephone scam in the county has the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department advising residents not to give out any personal information over the phone.

ACSO has received several complaints from residents who have gotten calls from individuals who say they are with utility companies or credit card companies calling about money owed on an account, said Lt. Terry Moisio.

“The caller will claim to be from a collection agency and use the name of the called party or a family member saying they owe money on a past due utility bill or a debt,” he said. “The callers seem to be persistent in return calls and the called party does not have a utility bill in their name.”

Moisio said an individual even called a local business and said an employee owed money. The calls are not targeted at a specific group of people and it is unknown where or how the callers are getting their information.

Moisio said ACSO has attempted to return calls left by the individuals and as soon as deputies identify themselves as law enforcement, the individuals hang up the phone.

“Once we started calling them back, the calls seem to have subsided,” he said.

Moisio said anyone who receives a call like this should hang up and contact their local law enforcement agency.

“Never provide personal information over the telephone,” he said.

ACSO will continue to investigate the complaints.