Not only did I *not* get the funds I requested, my cell phone blew up with phone call after phone call, from a variety of phone numbers. The first day, my phone rang every 2 minutes - each time, a different phone number. I answered the first few, stating firmly, "I'm no longer interested. Please don't call me again." Male voices with the same accent tried to speak over me, but I repeated, "Please don't call me again," and hung up.
As I said, calls came in every two minutes. By that afternoon, I was beyond annoyed. I called AT&T and changed my phone number. Finally, bliss. Or so I thought.
The next day, my phone was quiet until noon. Then, the calls began again. This time, spaced about an hour or two apart. Several were for the person who had the number before me, including a man claiming to be the sheriff of Lamb County, Texas with a warrant for her arrest.
I've looked up every number that's called and most turn up on websites posting scam phone numbers, chock-full of complaints from others who have received either threatening calls or hang ups. I filed a complaint with the Washington State Attorney General's office and included every phone number that's called my phone, hoping this will help leave a "paper" trail. I've added my complaints to others at various websites. I've also filed fraud alerts with the credit bureaus, because I did share all of my personal information on that website - everything an identity thief would need to have a party at my expense.
I know there are payday lenders out there who are legitimate. I've used some of them in the past. No matter how much they're vilified in the press, I know they provide a necessary service. And unfortunately, with every legitimate company comes dozens of scam businesses run by scumbags who are out to make a quick buck - and sickos who get off on terrorizing emotionally vulnerable people.
I've shared my frustration with a few friends, too embarrassed to go more public about this. I mean, who applies for a payday loan online? Not smart, savvy professionals like me, right?
Maybe you'll read my post and scoff, thinking, "How stupid could she be, doing something like that?" Maybe you'll shake your head, thinking, "She's a journalist, for goodness sake. She's covered stories of others who have fallen victim to scam artists."
Maybe you'll read with embarrassment, thinking, "I did not want to know this about her."
Or maybe you'll read this and feel uncomfortable, or relieved, because once, in a moment of weakness and desperation, you, too, filled out an online payday loan request.
Maybe your attempt was successful.
Or maybe, like me, you fell victim to scammers who have harassed you night and day with constant phone calls. To you, I say, you are not alone. I know exactly how helpless you feel. I felt the same way until this morning, after ignoring 4 calls between 9:19am and 10:16am and adding 3 numbers to my "blocked numbers" list. I fumed, wondering how the hell these people found my new number (they buy the info) and it occurred to me, I DO have the power to do something about this. I can write about it. I can list every fucking scam number that has called my phone, all in one place, instead of spread out among several complaint websites (I'll link those, too). I don't expect anything groundbreaking to come from this, but it'll give me a good feeling to get these phone numbers out of my phone directory and out there for everyone to see.
Here they are. If you catch a repeat, please let me know. I think I caught them all, but my eyes are fallible. If you recognize any as numbers that have called and harassed you, please share them in a comment. If nothing else, this can serve as a warning to others.
Internet Crime Complaint Center (FBI)
CallerCenter.com (to report scam numbers and read other complaints about those numbers)