The Texas Attorney General's office is investigating an alleged identity theft ring where the callers sometimes are claiming to be collecting on behalf of a government agency.
Dozens of Texas residents have reported receiving calls from scammers who claim to be collecting overdue payments - particularly child support debt - on behalf of the AG's office. They typically inform victims that an arrest warrant has been or will be issued because of a failure to pay.
The identity thieves then seek to confirm the residents Social Security number and other personal information, according to the AG's office. Once the consumer provides the information, the callers tell them the purported debt can be immediately resolved through a bank draft or adding cash to a prepaid debt card and providing the card number to the caller.
Requests for prepaid cards to resolve debts are a red flag for a scam, according to a news release from the AG's office.
"As with many ploys to obtain individuals' personal information, it is likely that many of these impostors are actually thousands of miles away, often in other countries and out of reach of U.S. law enforcement. Prepaid debit cards, the payment form demanded under this scheme, are now preferable to swindlers. The cards are more convenient than a money wire and just as untraceable," according to the news release.
The AG's office recommends that consumers getting calls from purported government collection agency demanding payments should first verify that the request is legitimate by directly contacting the government agency that is allegedly seeking the funds.