PHOENIX, AZ (August 22, 2012) – In response to multiple public complaints about fraudulent collection agencies, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery today warned citizens not to respond to telephone solicitations and threats from individuals claiming to be collections representatives of the County Attorney’s Office. He also encouraged the public to report any suspicious contact of this nature to his office directly.
“We’ve received numerous complaints from people claiming they’ve been harassed by collection agents who present themselves as members or representatives of my office and who threaten legal action if the person fails to pay off a bounced check they may have written in the past,” said Montgomery. “This is a scam, pure and simple, and people should hang up the phone immediately,” he added.
The County Attorney’s Office has received many complaints from individuals who at one time wrote a bad check that was submitted to MCAO’s Check Enforcement Program, which recovers restitution for individuals and merchants who receive bad checks. However, this program never contacts bad check writers by phone to demand payment. In many instances, scam operators target people who have already paid off their bad checks through the program.
“Let me be clear: our Check Enforcement Program will never telephone a bad check writer and demand payment. Anyone who receives such a call should report it to our office,” Montgomery said.
Since its creation in the late 1980s, MCAO’s Check Enforcement Program has successfully recovered more than $40 million in restitution for victims of bad checks and processes about 6,000 bad checks each year. Most offenders are provided an opportunity to avoid legal action by paying the full amount of the check plus any statutory fees. The program is offered as a free service to individuals and merchants who receive bad checks.