Police threatening debtors? It’s just a Facebook rumor

Staff writer

Most Facebook postings on the Marion County Swap Site pertain to clothing, vehicles, or other miscellaneous items for sale, but last week a posting about Marion County law enforcement personnel posing as loan collection officers set the Internet service abuzz.

“I received a call from an unnamed person who reported they had been called by someone threatening to arrest them for defaulting on a loan,” Sheriff Deputy Wilma Mueller said. “Then I saw a similar posting on the Marion County Swap Site, which I am a member of, that said a Marion County officer had made the threat. But that was all wrong.”

Mueller said at no time was the sheriff or any deputies involved in anything remotely close to the swap site chatter. It was a scam.

Mueller said she followed up on the original phone call report by Googling the number reported. She found that multiple scam complaints had been filed against that number.

She said no system in Marion County was ever hacked into, nor did anyone ever impersonate an officer in Marion County.

“There were a couple of things about this that were really funny,” Mueller said. “Probably it was a spell check error, but the Facebook post said a Marion County officer had been impregnated. That was just hilarious.”

Mueller said it also was rumored that she had 50 similar complaints in Marion County, but that was not true either. Only one person called to report a possible scam of this nature and an official case did not materialize from that information.

“I am always happy to help someone figure out if they are being scammed or not,” Mueller said. “But anyone who has access to the Internet can check these things out themselves.”

Mueller said to go to Google.com on the Internet and type suspicious phone numbers into a search engine. If that number has been associated with a scam of any kind in the past, it will show up on the Google search.

As far as scams go, Mueller said if something was too good to be true, most of the time it was a scam.

“We get a lot of complaints about sweepstakes winnings, free trips to the Bahamas, or requests to confirm guardianship of minors and money,” she said. “These things just are not true.”

Mueller said the phone call about collecting on a defaulted loan was particularly suspicious because a person is not sent to jail if they cannot pay their loan.

“There is a whole standard procedure for loan collection, and it does not involve jail threats by phone,” she said. “The person who reported the call did not even have any loans.”

Mueller said a good way to avoid scams was to put phone numbers on a ‘do not call’ list and to use common sense when considering offers that sounded too good to be true.

 

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