Since August, the Better Business Bureau reports a surge in phony, harassing debt collection calls. According to BBB reports, the callers accuse the victim of defaulting on a loan and claim they are being sued. The phony debt collector threatens that he or she can be arrested if immediate action is not taken to repay the loan. The scammers often have the victim’s personal information, including: Social Security, old bank account numbers or driver’s license numbers as well as home addresses, employer information and even the names of personal friends and professional references.

The BBB offers the following advice to consumers if they receive a suspicious telephone call about an outstanding debt:

• Ask the debt collector to provide official documentation which substantiates the debt.

• Do not provide or confirm any bank account, credit card or other personal information over the phone until you have confirmed the legitimacy of the call.

• File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online if the caller is abusive, uses threats or otherwise violates federal telemarketing laws.

• File a complaint with BBB online if you believe a debt collector is trying to scam you.

According to complaints online, phone numbers that the scammers are calling from include: 949-468-5107, 415-200-0274, 415-200-0274, 213-784-5745, 408-715-1614 and many others.

For more information or to schedule an interview with a BBB spokesperson, call 703-247-9376 or visit for more information about BBB.