A new scam is occurring in the area, Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said in a Jan. 17 news release.

"This time scammers are using payday loans to get your money," Bevan Walsh said in the release.

The scam starts as many do, with a phone call, according to the release. The caller claims to represent payday loan companies and collection agencies. They use information from legitimate loan applications to trick their victim into believing the call is real. But then things quickly change as the caller demands payment by threatening that the victim will be arrested. Many times the scammer even threatens to have someone come to the victim's work to intimidate them.

Failing to pay a loan is never punishable by arrest, Bevan Walsh said. Scammers are trying to use intimidation to trick their victims into giving them money.

A few tips to help protect your money:

° If a scammer calls or approaches you using this scam, contact local law enforcement and file a complaint with the NCL's Fraud Center at www.fraud.org

° By stealing your personal information, scammers have also committed identity theft.

° Be wary when applying for payday loans via the internet.

° Ask for written proof of the debt in question.

° Scammers often claim to represent official agencies or institutions. If you receive a call like this, hang up and call the organization in question directly.