SCAM ALERT: Debt collector scam hits residents in the east

It's the season for giving and for scammers, taking.

The Federal Trade Commission says phone scammers are on the prowl this time of year, posing as businesses or officials to try and rob you of your money.

Scammers will often pretend to be with a debt collection agency, telling you that you owe hundreds of dollars in unpaid debt.

A local resident tells WITN that he was targeted by one of these phone scammers. He says he received a voicemail on his phone on Tuesday from someone saying they were with NDA Management Associates, demanding $4,000 for a cash advance and claiming that he owed money for debt he knows doesn't exist.

In this case, the caller said that he must hire an attorney immediately. The FTC says scammers will also threaten jail time if a caller doesn't pay up immediately.

While that is enough to make anyone's heart race, the FTC says there are some precautions you can take to avoid the onslaught of panic.

The FTC reminds that you cannot be arrested for not paying your bills. Before agreeing to pay anything, ask the caller for written proof that says how much money you owe and to who. By law, debt collectors have to send you a written document, called a validation notice, within five days after they first contact you.

You can also check your credit report online at annualcreditreport.com or by calling (877) 322-8228 to see if you have any outstanding debts.

If you find that the call is a scam, but the caller still has a lot of personal information on you, be safe and place a fraud alert on your credit report.