A Michigan consumer sent us this voicemail message that they recently received: “From the headquarters which will get expired in next 24 working hours. And once it get expired after that you will be taken under custody by the local cops as there are four serious allegations pressed on your name at this moment. We request you to get back to us so that we can discuss this case before taking any legal action against you.”
If you answer a phone call and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, that’s a robocall, and it is probably a scam designed to get you to give your personal information or money. Do not call back and do not provide personal information over the phone unless you’ve initiated the call to a number you know is reliable.
Contact from the government gets your attention. Criminals know this and use the threat of government action to trick individuals in to taking action that results in theft. To get victims to call back or give out personal information, these scam messages say they have an “urgent” message about “important personal business” or “serious allegations” and that failure to respond may result in arrest or action taken against you.
Someone calls from the government instilling panic and urgency—there are pending charges or an outstanding case against you.
Listen for broken English or poor grammar: many robocalls are placed from foreign countries.
The top ten worst area code offenders for 2017 included: 202; 614; 469; 312; 817; 832; 210; 281; 909 and 214.
Hang up if you are asked to pay with a cash-to-cash money transfer; a PIN from a cash reload card; or a remotely-created payment using your bank account information. It is illegal for any telemarketer to accept any of those forms of payment.
Always ask for written verification of any debt. Never pay a debt by wiring money or using a pre-paid debit card. Even if you owe a debt, you still have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Consider using an app for your mobile phone to block robocalls and likely scams. RoboKiller received an award from the Federal Trade Commission, but there are other options.
To report a scam, file a complaint, or get additional information, contact the Michigan Department of Attorney General:Consumer Protection Division