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State police warn new scam moving through the area

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MASSENA - State police investigators are warning residents that a scam that has been used across the country has reached the north country.

State police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Investigator Leslie Loran said she is currently investigating a complaint where a “bill collection agency” demanded an individual pay an outstanding debt of $1,400 or she would be jailed.

She said the crime victim was a middle-aged professional and although she wasn’t familiar with the debt paid the bill.

“She got a call, and they told her pay it or else you will be arrested and go to jail. They took her hook, line and sinker. She was convinced,” Ms. Loran said.

The state police investigator said people should review their finances before paying an alleged debt.

Ms. Loran said the local scam mirrored similar incidents that have been reported across the country.

The woman received a call from a purported debt collector alleging she owed $1,400 on old an old payday loan.

The woman went to Walgreen’s, loaded a GreenDot MoneyPak card with the $1,400 and provided the “debt collector” with the number to the card. The money was removed from the card.

Ms. Loran said people need to be aware that federal law prohibits debt collectors from using intimidation, threats and harassment.

“You also should know that debt collection agencies can’t have you arrested or sent to jail,” she pointed out.

The investigation into the incident is continuing.

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