- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The dire “final warning” letters might look like they came from the New York Attorney General’s Office.

With the office seal, a case number and threat of legal action to collect debts, the notices would arrive out of the blue.

That’s because they’re coming from scammers trying to intimidate people into paying off fake debts or call a phone number that rings somewhere outside the U.S. and is answered by someone who may threaten arrest or job loss to force a payment.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Wednesday the bogus letters surfaced recently and feature a scheme similar to scam involving a caller posing as an attorney from his office, which said it has received dozens of complaints in recent weeks.

He said legitimate government agencies don’t issue such threats and consumers should be wary of any suspicious mailing or call.

The recent letters feature bogus letterhead and the subject “District Court Final Warning.” The language of the letters is meant to convince the reader that Attorney General is investigating them for failing to pay a past due debt. Some of the false claims include “Collateral Check Fraud,” ”Theft by Deception,” and “Violation of Banking Regulations.”

“Keep in mind that government agencies will never threaten you harm over failure to pay a debt and will never solicit personal information over the phone,” Schneiderman said. “If you believe you have been contacted by a fraudster posing as a government official, please report it immediately so that we can bring these scammers to justice.”

He urged filing a complaint through his office website.

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Online:

http://www.ag.ny.gov/complaint-forms

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