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New robocall scam threatens callers with legal action over fake debts

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MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- A threatening phone call and an ultimatum is the start of a new phone scam going around the country.

State Consumer Protection administrator Sandy Chalmers says the call can be frightening. "Somebody says you might be a respondent in a court case, and you may have your wages garnished, and all you have to do to stop the company from talking with your employer is to press a key to talk to a litigator." The call will also threaten you with legal charges if you don't respond.

The problem is it's just an old scam with a new coat of paint. "It sounds very scary, they talk about a court order, but it's all a cleverly disguised scheme to part you from your money." The callers aren't actually representing anyone, and never name who they're from in the call. The numbers they give to contact are also phony. Chalmers say no legitimate company would ever make legal contact with you in this way, in any case.

Chalmers says the correct response is to simply hang up. "Don't hit any keys during the call and don't ask to talk to a live person, because you're just tagging yourself as a live number that will be sold on to other crooks around the world."

If you've gotten one of these calls or would like to report a scam attempt, call the Department of Trade and Consumer Protection's helpline at 1-800-422-7128.

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