Phantom debt scams big in 2014

Top Ten trophy

Our annual compilation of the top scams reported to is out! Based on analysis of 10,000+ complaints, our newest warning is to be on the lookout for the gaining-in-popularity “phantom debt” scams.

Con artists contact consumers claiming to be collecting on an unpaid debt. The debt may be bogus, but the high-pressure tactics are intimidating. Consumers are threatened with jail time, legal action, or other consequences. In 2013, it was the fastest-growing scam, and last year, it rose to the #4 spot!

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Don’t get spooked by phantom debt collectors

The phone rings and a scary voice on the other end tells you that you owe them money and need to pay up … or else. The caller leads you to believe that a recent loan you took out has come due and that its time to pay or face legal action. Frightening, right?

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Obamacare confusion providing opening for con artists

Shortly after the Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or more commonly, "Obamacare") was signed into law in 2010, scams linked to the programs began to crop up. At Fraud.org, we are concerned that it's going to only get worse as state and federal health insurance exchanges come on line this fall.

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Bogus magazine sales at your door?

Magazine sales scams typically begin with a knock at the door and a young person on the other side selling magazine subscriptions to “raise money” for a charity, school trip, or other seemingly worthy cause. Consumers who take the bait and sign up, however, often report receiving nothing in return. The Better Business Bureau files more than 1,000 complaints about magazine sales fraud annually.