12 On Your Side: Fake debt collectors cashing in this Christmas

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2013

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW) -- "They really drive me crazy. They calling me all summer," Rkia Edmiston said.

For months now Edmiston said she has been getting phone calls claiming she owes money on a 9-year-old T-Mobile cell phone bill.

She said there is just one problem with that-- she's never had T-Mobile as a carrier.

She does have a free government phone for emergencies. Edmiston said she has never owned a credit card or credit-based cell phone.

Edmiston said the caller told her that she owed $450. She says they gave her two options. Pay in full or make monthly payments of $35 until the debt was paid off.

"They get on my nerves. They call you day, night, early in the morning," Edmiston said.

We called the number that Edmiston gave us and the person answering the phone claimed they were with Affirmative Mediation Group in New York.

He hung up after we told him we were with News 12.

Edmiston said she was never given an account number to verify that the debt was real. That is what made her even more skeptical.

Minutes after we were disconnected from the caller, they called back blocking their number. We were told that we were impersonating a news team.

"You may be impersonating a collection agency," said reporter Jerome Collins.

He hung up before we could ask any questions.

GiGi Turner with Augusta's Better Business Bureau said scammers are getting more and more persuasive.

"These people are good. They can lure you, they can convince you. That's their skill," Turner said"

She said the best defense is to simply hang up the phone. Advice that Edmiston says she plans to follow from now on.

"I think it's nothing but robbery. I think they trying to rob people," Edmiston said.

So, if you get a debt collection call you should always ask for the debt amount in writing. Also go online and verify the name, address and phone number of the company and never feel intimidated by the con artists' aggressive tactics.


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