Google search tips off Sweetwater man to avoid scam

Google search tips off Sweetwater man to avoid scam

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"They gave me a time. They said by one o'clock if I didn't have it, they were going to come and get me," Jeffrey Wilkins said. "We've had a history of loans taken out in the past in the family. That's why I thought it was legit." "They gave me a time. They said by one o'clock if I didn't have it, they were going to come and get me," Jeffrey Wilkins said. "We've had a history of loans taken out in the past in the family. That's why I thought it was legit."
"The list goes on and on where people had also been scammed. That's how I realized I had been got to," he said. "The list goes on and on where people had also been scammed. That's how I realized I had been got to," he said.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

SWEETWATER (WATE) - Across our state and country, billions of dollars are owed to loan companies and sometimes people get behind in payments.

A man in Sweetwater was conned into believing he had an outstanding loan and had to pay it immediately.

He was presented with a deadline when he received the call - pay $1,000 within the hour or risk going to jail.

The young father says he freaked out and paid the money, but eventually got it back.

"It scared me," said Jeffrey Wilkins.

Wilkins said he panicked when he got a call from a toll free number and then was sent a message claiming he had outstanding debt on an instant cash loan.

"They said I owed $2,300 and to keep myself out of jail I had to pay $1,000," he said.

Wilkins got the call around 12 noon when given a deadline to respond.

"They gave me a time. They said by one o'clock if I didn't have it, they were going to come and get me," he said. "We've had a history of loans taken out in the past in the family. That's why I thought it was legit."

So he took out his credit card and paid $1,000 to an agency called Kenneth Miller and Associates. He was told they're in Atlanta.

A few hours later he googled that phone number, his curiosity getting the best of him.

"The list goes on and on where people had also been scammed. That's how I realized I had been got to," he said.

Referring to the name Kenneth Miller and Associates, one post online says, 'Don't call them back. They are a scam agency.'

"Once I realized I had not been scammed and was not going to jail, it was a relief," he said.

At that point Wilkins took some action. That thousand dollars they demanded and Jeffrey paid by debit card. Wilkins called his bank.

"They asked about the transaction, what it was about, the name. They immediately put a stop to it," he said.

Wilkins did the right thing.

He contacted his bank immediately after realizing his mistake. He stopped the transaction. And he closed his account and opened a new one.

Jerry Tipton at the Better Business Bureau says the type of call Wilkins received isn't allowed. It's against federal law.

"It's the Fair Debt Collection law passed in 1978. It prohibits threats, intimidation, vulgar language, calling at certain times of day or night," Tipton said.

"I want people to know this stuff is easy to get caught up in. It's scary to think someone can do this to you," Wilkins said. "I consider myself very lucky."


If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at 865-633-5974 or email ddare@wate.com.

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