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Resource ID: #25899
Hundreds of thousands of cash-strapped Americans were being targeted by abusive debt collectors operating out of overseas call centers, part of what authorities were calling a massive scam that targeted struggling Americans -- especially those who have gone online to apply for payday loans. Armed with personal information from those pilfered applications, the threatening callers, who claimed to be debt collectors poised to initiate legal action, managed to pry loose millions of dollars from their victims -- even when the victims never owed money in the first place. It's what the Federal Trade Commission calls a "phantom debt collection scam." An ABC News investigation pried into the scam and found that, working through call centers in India, the fake debt collectors had dialed at least 2.5 million calls, persuading already cash-strapped victims to send them more than $5 million. Some reported receiving dozens of calls per hour. ABC News tracked down the man to whom FTC officials say all roads led from the scam. For the first time, the most prolific scam to hit Americans in years finally had a face.