FORT MYERS, Fla. - A licensed medical professional is coming forward to warn the community about a new scam. He got taken but hopes his story will help others steer clear of financial disaster.
Tom Crowell got a phone call he'll never forget. Someone with a thick accent informed him about an outstanding loan and if he didn't pay, he'd be arrested. The person on the other end wouldn't give Tom many details about the supposed loan.
"With my naive background regarding the loan, and having no record or experience with that, I was frightened and so I was basically at their mercy," Tom told WINK News.
He thought he had no outstanding loans, but not wanting to take any chances, Tom faxed his bank information, giving the company permission to withdraw.
"Honestly he would have gotten away with it except he debited my account twice," Tom said.
Once he noticed the mistake, Tom knew he had been taken.
"I'm 46 years old, I've been doing it for 30 years. I've been dealing with banks, and bills and power companies, and all that so I thought it was very legitimate; and they sound very convincing," he explained.
Luckily, when Tom realized he'd been scammed, he contacted his bank. The bank is working with Tom to credit all his money back.
If you get a call about an unpaid debt and think it's a scam, ask for specific details. In this case, the caller told Tom he'd get the details after he paid. By law, every collector must send you a written "validation notice" telling you how much money you owe within five days of first contacting you. The validation notice will include specific details about the loan and what to do if you think you don't owe any money. Creditors are never allowed to threaten to have you arrested.
For more on what creditors can or can't do when trying to collect, click on this link.