Unpaid Subscription Collections: Phone Scam Overview
Magazine subscriptions in the United States are estimated to be around a $6 billion per year industry. Many Americans subscribe to a magazine. Whether it be a health/beauty, fitness, fashion, celebrity news, world events or a special interest publication, it's easy to find a magazine for every niche and interest.
Phone scammers have used the fact that many people subscribe to magazines in order to con victims out of money. This phone scam targets anyone with a magazine subscription.
The Collection Call
The scam begins with a call from a supposed collection agency, the caller will inform you that they are calling on behalf of a publishing company in order to collect money owed on an unpaid magazine subscription. The caller often will not state the name of the magazine. By not specifying the magazine name and only claiming to have the name of the publishing company, which they claim could be different from the magazine itself, the scammers can trick more victims.
In some cases, the caller will specify which magazine they are calling on behalf of and will use a popular magazine. If you don't subscribe to the magazine then you can easily identify this as a scam, but if you are a subscriber this scam becomes nearly impossible to detect.
The caller will then request you send payment via wire transfer or prepaid debit card, they may also ask for credit card information, but the preferred method of payment among scammers is either wire transfer or prepaid cards. This is due to the fact that both of these payment methods are untraceable. They may threaten that not paying this will damage your credit score and that the collection calls will continue.
Steering Clear of This Scam
When you are behind on payments regarding a magazine subscription you will first receive a notice via mail with a number of different payment methods, they will also stop mailing out the magazine to you.
Whenever you get a call from someone claiming to be a debt collector remember your rights. You first need to receive written notice of what is owed and to whom, you never need to pay the caller immediately. There are many legitimate collection agencies, but there are also many variations of debt collection phone scams.
Whenever you are in doubt and feel pressured by a caller hang up, research the number, and call back later if it seems to be legitimate. You can request that debt collectors stop calling you by sending them a written cease and desist letter.
Spreading the Word
If you get a call from a suspicious number you can research it by tracing the phone number before you call it back. If you find that there is suspicious behavior associated with the number, or that you feel it may be being used to scam people, you should report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
You can also report potential scam phone numbers and help spread awareness of phone scams in your community by leaving your feedback in CallerSmart's free online phone book or reverse phone lookup app for iPhone.