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"You will be behind the bars for six months and once you go behind the bars, you will lose your job. Once you are behind the bars, you won't get a single drop of water."
That's the message received by just one of hundreds of thousands of cash-strapped Americans who authorities say have become the targets of a "phantom" debt collection scheme in which victims are bullied and threatened into paying conmen money they do not owe, as reported in an ABC News "Nightline" investigation.
"They call up and they pretend to be policemen... sometimes they've been from the FBI or the Department of Justice," said Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. "So it is just a hardcore kind of scam and we're beginning to see more of it..."