The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets has published details of an ongoing scam within the nation, which seeks to reclaim non-existent gambling debts from consumers.

Lootsma and Partners, Bailiff Smits and Co and Inter Payment Service have all been named as the collection agencies that form part of the scam by the ACM, with the country’s gaming regulator, the kansspelautoriteit, backing the warning and subsequent advice issued.

It is explained that people are contacted either via telephone or email, with information that there are overdue payments that they are urged to pay, as the agencies in question stress that the debt emanated from a lottery or other game of chance.

In a media release issued by the kansspelautoriteit, it is stated: “Reports show that the collection agencies mentioned are putting consumers under pressure to pay an outstanding bill. Often there is no agreement at all, so the claim is unjustified.

“Sometimes it concerns alleged agreements from years ago. The collection agencies claim that the consumer is obliged to pay. They threaten consumers with far-reaching measures such as seizure of goods or bank accounts.

“It is also said that goods are seized if the consumer does not pay on time. A collection agency cannot take such measures at all. Only an official bailiff may attach an attachment after permission from the judge.”

The advice from both parties in a simple one, “do not pay,” with the ACM waning that Lootsma and Partners, Bailiff Smits and Co and Inter Payment Service could form part of a larger network that attempts to enforce payment of unjustified claims under varying guises.

Each agency is not registered with the Chamber of Commerce, which is mandatory for those wishing to operate in the Netherlands, with it also stressed that the information displayed on each website is also incorrect.