Consumer alert: experts issue warning about bogus debt collector - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Consumer alert: experts issue warning about bogus debt collectors

 Here's another way people are trying to get you to part with your money. Debt collectors are out in full force now that those holiday bills are rolling in. But be careful who you pay. Some questionable companies are threatening people and breaking the law.

A news viewer received an E-mail that looks official. But after reading it, red flags went up.

The message claims the recipient owes an old debt, and could be in legal trouble if no payment is made.

The Better Business Bureau says the company behind the email is ACS Incorporation Collection, located in Clearwater, Florida. It has an "F" rating, more than 400 complaints and a BBB alert warning others to steer clear.  When the company was called for comment, the person who answered hung up.  They also do not have a website.

Investigators say people with recently deceased relatives are a big target.

"They will call up and say hey, your cousin John or your brother George just died and he left a significant amount of debt and that is on you now because you are a survivor," says forensic invesigator Patrick Siewert.

Before responding to any request for payment of an old debt do your research on the company and ask for something in writing to verify you owe the money. Also, never give up your personal information through email or over the phone. 

The best way to keep your information safe: do not reply to these types of E-mails. Just hit delete.

Click here for more information on collection laws.

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