New scam targets payday loan customers

Officials want Midstate residents to be on the lookout for a new scam in which the crooks will use convincing, fake court papers and even threaten to have the victims arrested if they don't pay up.

Investigators at the U.S. Postal Service say the scam is a result of some sort of breach with one or multiple payday loan organizations. They say data such as contact information, birth dates and social security numbers may have gotten into the wrong hands.

Criminals will then use the information to contact the victim via Internet, phone, or mail to say that victims need to pay money or face prosecution, according to officials. The scammers will even send fake court papers purportedly from U.S. District Court.

“This is probably one of the more sophisticated one's I have seen in my 19 years because of the layers involved in it, with the amount of work to substantiate what they are telling the victim,” Postal Investigator Nick Alicea said.

Often, officials say, the scammers will want victims to use prepaid Green Dot MoneyPak cards that leave virtually no paper trail.

So far there have been two reported cases in Pennsylvania, including one involving a Shiremanstown man, authorities say. There have been a handful of victims in New Jersey.

There's no word yet on the scope of the scam.

Officials say it originated in India.

The FBI is also investigating.

Anyone who believes they may have been affected by the scam can contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service's office in Harrisburg at (717) 257-2330.

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