Details of an ongoing scam within the Netherlands have been published by the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). Reports suggest that the scam seeks to claim back non-existing gambling debts from Dutch consumers.
The Authority has revealed that companies Bailiff Smits and Co, Inter Payment Service and Lootsma and Partners, are all involved as collection agencies making up part of the scam. The country’s regulatory body, Kansspelautoriteit has proceeded with a warning on the scam and handed out advice to consumers following the discovery.
According to details of the publication, Dutch players are being contacted through email or on the telephone and are informed that there are certain overdue payments on their accounts. The named agencies then claim that the debts should be paid as quickly as possible, with a clear stress placed on the payments coming from lotteries or other games of chance.
Speaking of the scam, a media release from Kannspelautoriteit states that the collection agencies mentioned above are “putting consumers under pressure” with regards to paying bills. It went on to state that in many of the cases, there is actually no agreement at all, making those claims totally unjustified.
In other cases, the communication relates to agreements “from years ago” and the collection agency pushes the consumer to pay off the debt instantly. Instilling fear into the consumers, the agencies then resort to methods such as threatening them with the seizure of bank accounts and/or goods.
Advice After Further Investigation from the ACM
Not only do the calls and emails suggest that goods seizure will take place if they refuse to pay, but also if they do not pay on time. “A collection agency cannot take such measures at all”, said the media release by the ACM. It is only a bailiff that may proceed with such terms if an official judge has provided permission to do so.
The advice given by the ACM and the Dutch government is to simply not pay the supposed debts. It has also been warned that Bailiff Smits and Co and the rest, could actually form part of a larger network of scam companies, which may attempt to enforce payment of unjustified outstanding debts while using one of various guises.
The Chamber of Commerce has noted that each of the agencies mentioned is not registered there. This is something that is a mandatory procedure for anyone wishing to operate within the country. Not only that, but it has been stressed that information published on each of the companies’ websites is completely incorrect.