Call 4 Action: Collection Agency Scam

A Harlingen woman turned to Action 4 News to warn the Rio Grande Valley about a bill collection scam.

Margaret Langstraat opened a bill from a collection agency Wednesday that claimed she owed AT&T $343.28.

"I was shocked because I don't have that kind of money," said Langstraat. "I live on a fixed income. I was just appalled."

Langstraat has C.O.P.D. and asthma.

She receives monthly disability checks as her only income.

Langstraat is an AT&T customer and said she's always on time with her bills.

She decided to call AT&T directly instead of the collection agency called Jefferson Capital Systems.

After searching through files, AT&T told Langstraat the bill was bogus.

AT&T had no outstanding charges on her account.

The AT&T representative told Langstraat not to respond to the letter because someone was trying to get money out of her.

Langstraat believes the collection bill would have eventually lead to identity theft and credit cards being opened in her name.

"With me being disabled, it puts me in a situation where I worry about bills. I don't want to owe anybody any money. I can't afford to do that. I wanted to call Channel 4 and tell other people because it's a scam to steal money from people and I didn't want anyone else to get caught in it."

Action 4 News called the toll free number on Langstraat's bill to get a response, but the automated system continually said the offices were closed.

The, we checked out the collection agency's website.

To access it, you have to enter your social security number, which is always a red flag.