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My office received a phone call yesterday from a consumer who said she got a call from the California Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, demanding payment for a payday loan the consumer allegedly didn’t take care of.

The consumer said she never took out a payday loan and that the caller threatened to send authorities to her house and drag her to California. And, more importantly, she asked if we would come after a consumer for an unpaid debt.

Let me be clear: Our Office would never, ever contact you on behalf of a debt collector. And we would also never threaten to come and take you away for an unpaid debt. (For more on debt collector and practices, click here.)

This looks like a relatively new scam. A search of the phone number (818-746-3844) found two online notes regarding the phone number from the last week. “I received a call from this number claiming to be a prosecuting attorney. Does anyone know if this is legit? Sounds like a scam,” was one comment. The other was more to the point: “Using this number to scare people into sending money.”

In this case, another state’s office was the alleged debt collector. But in many cases of bogus debt-collector schemes, the names change but the ruse remains the same.

We want to make sure consumers are aware of this scam, and they do not fall prey to it. If you get an unsolicited phone call from us demanding a debt payment, take down as much information as you can about the caller (including the phone number and any other contact information) and contact us. Our Consumer Hotline number is (888) 283-3757. We can ensure that we’re not hounding you for a real or imagined debt, and we can help you file a complaint against the perpetrator.

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