TOPEKA – (January 25, 2011) – Kansas consumers should be on the alert for a possible new scam, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt warned today.
The attorney general’s office has received numerous calls from Kansans across the state who have been contacted by an organization calling itself National Credit Solutions and purporting to be a debt collection agency. Most of the consumers who have been contacted have been contacted either by mail or by telephone. National Credit Solutions says it is contacting the consumers to collect a late fee owed by the consumer to Hollywood Video. The organization tells the consumer that the late fee was never paid and that Hollywood Video has turned the account over to National Credit Solutions for collection, and increasing the amount due. The organization then tells the consumer that the amount must be paid immediately or it will be reported on the consumer’s credit report. National Credit Solutions often will also attempt to bargain with the consumer to get them to pay on the spot, accepting less than the amount to ensure payment.
However, most of the consumers who are contacted do not owe any late fee to Hollywood Video.
“This appears to be a scam,” Attorney General Derek Schmidt said. “Consumers should not pay or give any information to this organization over the telephone. Instead, they should gather whatever information they can about the alleged debt and the caller and then report that to our office. We’re here to help.”
Consumers receiving calls or mail from National Credit Solutions attempting to collect a false debt should report the situation to the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-432-2310 or online at www.ksag.org.
Consider these tips when dealing with debt collection agencies:
- Know your rights as a consumer. Research the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) so you know your rights as a consumer if a collection agency contacts you. Know that they have specific guidelines they must follow to ensure they are not using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from consumers. Download the FDCPA for your reference at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre27.pdf
- Do not pay a debt unless you are absolutely sure it is your legitimate debt.
- Don’t let anyone rush you into making a decision. Take your time to ask questions, and gather information about the claim. Scam artists typically will not take the time to provide additional information when asked.
- Check your credit report on a regular basis, to avoid inaccurate information and discrepancies. The nationwide consumer reporting companies can provide a free copy of your credit report every 12 months. Go to www.ftc.gov/credit for additional information on credit reporting.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is responsible for enforcing the FDCPA and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Use all their resources available to build your knowledge of these acts and many more.