Miami-Dade State Attorney Warns of Debt Collection Scam


Miami-Dade State Attorney Warns of Debt Collection Scam
Miami-Dade State Attorney Warns of Debt Collection Scam

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle is warning residents about a recent e-mail scam filled with legal-sounding jargon – but with notable grammar and spelling mistakes – threatening the arrest of the recipient if they do not send $750 immediately in order to pay off an alleged debt, according to public information officer Ed Griffith on Tuesday.

The bogus e-mails contained a fake court case number, threaten an impending arrest and attempt to acquire valid credit card information from consumers.

“I’m outraged that thieves would hope to use the prosecutor’s office as a tool to get cash from terrified victims,” Fernandez Rundle stated. “We have already spoken to victims who almost fell for this scheme. Only luck and good judgment saved them.”

According to Fernandez Rundle, the scammers use the false identity of “attorney” Joseph Foster from the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.   Inclusion of an official agency such as the state attorney’s office and the use of a fake name is a recent revision of e-mail and phone scams that include threats of arrest to collect debt that consumers do not owe.

Preliminary investigation reveals that the false e-mails may have originated in Thailand, making it unlikely that U.S. law enforcement will be able to arrest the scammers or get a return of lost monies, according to the state attorney’s office.

Victims in the Miami-Dade debt collection scam have reported that the fake debt collectors maintained a familiarity with their personal information and have additionally associated themselves with the “Morgan & Associates” law firm.

Return calls to a telephone number contained in the e-mails reveal possible use of VOIP technology.  These phone numbers have since been disconnected.

In similar scams, fake debt collectors speak English with a foreign accent and call themselves “Affidavit Consolidation Services,” “Cash Advance Inc.,” “Criminal Bureau of Identity,” “DNR Recovery,” “U.S. National Bank,” “US Justice Department/Payday Loan Division,” “Federal Investigation Bureau,” “United Legal Processing” and other phony names.

The fake collectors refuse to disclose their real names or addresses and are believed to be operating from homes, automobiles, and foreign countries.  As these scammers have kept themselves well hidden, law enforcement authorities have been unsuccessful in locating or shutting them down.

Fake debt collectors typically pose as lawyers, law enforcement officers, investigators, and bankers while attempting to collect on phony debt.  They threaten consumers with immediate arrest for “bank fraud” or other crimes unless a credit card number is provided or funds wired immediately. They scare and confuse consumers by using meaningless legal phrases such as “We are downloading warrants against you” or “We are filing an affidavit against you.”  Consumers that do not immediately fall for the scam are warned, “Only God can help you now.”

Fake debt collectors almost always call consumers at work – sometimes several times a day – advising their supervisors, “Your employee has committed fraud and is about to be arrested.” Such threats have been unsettling to consumers and employers.  Because the scammers make a special point of calling at work, employers should realize that their employee is an innocent victim of a criminal enterprise and cannot stop the calls voluntarily.

According to Fernandez Rundle, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office never communicates important information via e-mail and would never be involved in a debt collection action.  The office strongly recommends that consumers never electronically respond to situations that demand immediate action with threats of punishment or even open unsolicited e-mails from unfamiliar senders.  Consumers should also ask for documentation that proves an alleged debt exists.

“More potential victims are calling our office now that this scam has become public,” Ed Griffith, public information officer, told Examiner.  “A new twist on an old scam, consumers should be vigilant and not provide personal information or credit card numbers to anyone they haven’t first contacted themselves.”

For more information on this debt collection scam or to report possible fraud, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office can be contacted through their Cyber Crimes Unit at (305) 547-0837.

_____________________

As a nationally recognized credit repair and identity theft expert, Bill Lewis is principal of William E. Lewis Jr. & Associates, a solutions based professional consulting firm specializing in the discriminating individual, business or governmental entity.

For daily updates on The Credit Report with Bill Lewis, you can join Bill’s 11,550 plus fans on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/thecreditreportwithbilllewis.

Advertisements

Palm Beach Sheriff and Audible Media Group partner to offer audio traffic app


PBSO Audio Traffic App by Audible Media Group
PBSO Audio Traffic App by Audible Media Group

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office have partnered with the Audible Media Group on a new state-of-the-art traffic application designed to provide residents with voice-activated, user-controlled, on-demand, audio traffic reports and PBSO breaking news and alerts, Chief Technology Officer Deniz Kumral reminded the public on Monday.

Called the PBSO Audio Traffic App, Bradshaw was skeptical when he first learned about the concept for a traffic report cell phone app designed to cut down on distracted driving.

“The expertise that was brought to this app was — we believe to be — state of the art,” explained Bradshaw at a recent press conference unveiling the new technology.  “The biggest piece of the puzzle that had to be in place was we didn’t want to have something that caused more distracted driving than we already had a problem with.”

Every year over 3000 people die nationwide because they were distracted while driving.  Through this joint effort, PBSO partnered with the Audible Media Group to launch an audio traffic app to deliver live traffic reports so drivers will not have to scroll maps commonly used by other traffic applications.

With distracted driving in mind, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office wanted an audible device so motorists would keep their eyes on the road rather than on their smartphones.

The PBSO Audio Traffic App features live traffic reports providing traffic information on Palm Beach County roads, including alternate route suggestions. The application also has the capability to send push notifications with breaking news from the Sheriff’s Office, including reports on missing persons, crimes in progress or hazardous conditions.

The app will work in all areas of Palm Beach County by triangulating the location of drivers through their phone’s global positioning system.

“I’m very excited about this – it’s a great partnership – and guess what, the price is the best that it could absolutely be, it’s free,” concluded Bradshaw.

The PBSO Audio Traffic App is available in the Apple App Store and at Google Play for Android devices.  It is operated through voice commands so a driver can get updates about traffic and alternate routes without having to look at their smartphone.

_____________________

As a nationally recognized credit repair and identity theft expert, Bill Lewis is principal of William E. Lewis Jr. & Associates, a solutions based professional consulting firm specializing in the discriminating individual, business or governmental entity.

For daily updates on The Credit Report with Bill Lewis, you can join Bill’s 11,550 plus fans on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/thecreditreportwithbilllewis.

Background checks in South Florida made easy


image

Utilizing public record databases to find criminal, civil, or traffic violations in South Florida became a little easier Friday with the release of a semi-comprehensive list of online resources.

Locating and identifying a criminal history, civil litigation or traffic history is but a click away. You can also access resources in relation to inmates, those on probation, parole or community control, sex offenders or missing children, in addition to stolen property or vehicles.

Background checks

·          Florida Department of Law Enforcement – For a modest fee of $23.00, you can obtain an individual’s criminal history record in Florida.

·         Broward County court records – Search civil, criminal and traffic courts through the Clerk’s office.

·         Miami-Dade County court records – Search civil, criminal and traffic courts through the Clerk’s office.

·         Monroe County court records – Search civil, criminal and traffic courts through the Clerk’s office.

·         Palm Beach County court records – Search civil, criminal and traffic courts through the Clerk’s office.

Sex offenders

·         Florida Offender Alert System – Sign up to receive an email alert when a sex offender moves into your neighborhood.

·         Florida Sex Offender Registry – Locate registered sex offenders by name, city, address or zip code.

·         Sex offender screen names – Check a computer screen name or email address to determine whether it’s linked to a registered sex offender in Florida.

·         National and other state sex offender registries – Search the national database, or select a state to view a particular registry.

Jail and state prison inmates

·         Broward County Jail inmates – Search for inmates currently incarcerated in Broward County.

·         Miami-Dade County Jail inmates – Search for inmates currently incarcerated in Miami-Dade County.

·         Monroe County Jail inmates – Search for inmates currently incarcerated in Monroe County.

·         Palm Beach County Jail inmates – Search for inmates currently incarcerated in Palm Beach County as well as those released within the last 12 months.

·         Florida Department of Corrections – Search for inmates currently incarcerated or recently released, as well as those on probation, parole, community control or other form of non-custodial release.

Wanted and missing persons

·         Florida Missing Children Search – Search for a missing or endangered person directly at the state Missing Children Information Clearinghouse.

·         Missing Persons Search – Search for a missing person directly at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

·         National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – Search for several national resources for missing children.

·         Wanted Persons Search – Search for felony or misdemeanor warrant information as reported to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

·         Wireless Amber alerts – Sign up for free wireless Amber alerts directly to your cell phone.

Stolen property

·         Florida Crime Information Center – Search for information on whether a vehicle, vehicle parts, boats, license plates, decals, guns and other items were reported lost or stolen in Florida.

·         VINCheck – Search the National Insurance Crime Bureau database to see if a vehicle has been reported stolen.

Bill Lewis is principal of William E. Lewis Jr. & Associates, a solutions based professional consulting firm specializing in the discriminating individual, business or governmental entity.

For daily updates on The Credit Report with Bill Lewis, you can join Bill’s 16,550 plus fans on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/thecreditreportwithbilllewis.