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Phantom debts and fake collection notices

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Imagine getting an official-looking letter — with a seal, signed by a judge — that says you owe a lot of money for an unpaid payday loan. Awfully intimidating, right? Especially if it included your correct name, address, and maybe even your Social Security number.

In a new twist on an old scam, criminals are impersonating law firms, judges, and court officials. They send out scary letters and make threatening phone calls about phantom debts to try to convince people to send them money.

So, what should you do if you get one of these nastygrams? No matter how convincing a letter or phone call seems, check it out. Look up the real number for the government agency, office, or employee (yes, even judges) and get the real story. It’s likely to be a scam.

Be suspicious if anyone — no matter who they say they are — asks you to wire money, or load a rechargeable money card as a way to pay back the debt. There’s no legitimate reason for someone to ask you to send money that way.

Curious about other imposter scams? Check out some of our previous scams alerts. And if you haven’t already, sign up to get new scam alerts by email.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

214-504-2986. They called themselves Global Acquisitions. Same thing- said we owed $1K in balance and fees from Orchard Bank HSBC from back in 2006. Same last 4 of SSN and even had the formal names of our daughters as 'references'. Threatened to contact my employer for garnishment. Asked for contact info on the debt and she said "you should have that" I said no we don't as we never had any accounts with them and she hung up. Made police report, notified our ID theft firm, and also verified and printed our credit reports.

Got the same call and pumped them for info. Will post company info everywhere possible online once I have it.

Today I got a call from the same phone number with the same scenario, simultaneously on my office phone and cell phone. I called my bank immediately; they checked my account and said there were no allegations against me. I told him the phone number and he said it not any number from my bank. He thought it was a scam. Thank you all for posting this info so I can relax and get back to my Monday.

I received the same call today.. Thanks for posting.

Same thing happened to me last week, yesterday and today. Called my mom, husband, work phone and now my cell phone stating I'd committed bank or check fraud. Told me I owed $1500 on a credit card I didn't open and that we could "settle" for $700 today and avoid going to court. I asked specific information re: the account and she said she didn't have any information to give me & also told me to get an attorney. I called my bank and attorney and they told me several persons have called with the same phone number & that it was a scam.

I am so glad I was smart and found this post because I been having these same problems.But since I changed my phone number these scammers are herrassing my mom,sister and now today they called my 19 years old daughter and scared her.I don't know how they got there phone number specialty when my daughter number is new

Thank you so much for this post. I just got a phone call from this number about a check/bank fraud charge against me. I was freaking out! I immediately called the number back and got "voice mailbox is full" message. I decided to look up the number on Google and found these posts. There are some crazy people out there!

Here is another number that the scammers are calling from. 304-254-6110. They leave a message and say call this number: 866-801-0757 and use whatever case number. Just block the numbers or hang up. You know if you owe anyone anything.

I got a call saying I had to pay a big amount it was 1000 and something dollars thay went through another company what they say and thay was going to give me haft of for 785 and said they were in the city and I had 2 hours to pay if I did not they said that they was sending a cop out to pick me up and to hold me till my court date and told me to call them back but no phone number was given I did not see no cops and thay did not call back

Thanks for this. I got a voice mail today from this number and worried that something was seriously wrong, as I recently misplaced and had to cancel a credit card. When I called the number back, I just got call-waiting music before transferring to a voice mailbox with an automated message. I'm glad I heard this is a hoax before wasting any time on them.

I have been contacted by unknown or blocked numbers on several occassions (I never answer unknown or blocked numbers) and have had some messages left in my voicemail with the same recording and call back number, claiming bank fraud and contacting employer. I got a spotless, constantly monitored credit and therefore no worries... Haven't/won't call them back....

Yes, it is best to hang up the phone or delete the voice message and to not call them back or press any number. Not even if the say it is to get off their list. If you press a number or call them back, you may be in fact confirming that this is a good number and it will probably lead to more calls.

Thank you

My husband has received several messages on his cell phone in the last couple of weeks asking for me by my maiden name and stating something about check or bank fraud and contacting my employer if I did not respond by the end of the day. Clearly a scam because the message is always the same. I have never contacted them and do not intend to. I don't even write checks. Thanks to everyone for posting you're encounter with these low life's.. it's just sad that this kind of thing even happens!!

As of today they're still up to this same scam! We received a call from them threatening to contact my moms employer. Too bad she's retired. Someone needs to stop the ASAP.

Thank you for posting! I just got a call and prompted message but they got the name entirely wrong. I thought it odd and searched the number online to see if I could find anything. Is there a way to report them for fraud or anything? It doesn't seem right that they continue to report false claims for money like this.

You can file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

My daughter is also getting phone calls along with other family members including myself, saying she has allegedly committed bank "or" check fraud etc. from 214-504-2986. How can we stop them? I would like to follow through with whatever we can do to END these scammers.

The scene has moved up to Michigan now. I just received the automated threatening call asking gorgeous Dasani, whoever that is and telling me to call the same number. Thank you so much for your post.

My husband got this call too. Said he had to turn himself in to local authorities for not paying cash advance from an online application. Total garbage but scared us to death. Shame on these scammers. Said they were from a law firm but when we called there, they do family law not criminal. Watch out Michiganders!

Have received multiple calls from the same number: (214)504-2986. Same automated recording as described in aforementioned comments here, and other sites as well; making allegations of check fraud. Have not called the number back. Decided to investigate further. Revealed multiple complaints and fraudulent activity regarding this company and phone number.

Thank you for posting this. We got the same call today and the callers will not provide any details from their end, so I looked up the number and found this thread.

I get calls from this group quite often, for my daughter. Sure don't know how they got my number. She found out it was a fraud. Nice to have other verification of that.

The exact same phone number (214-504-2986) came up on my phone. I listened to the voice message which stated something of the nature of check and bank fraud. Is there anything these people can be turned in with just a phone number?

I have been getting these calls weekly, and they have started calling my mothers phone with the message for me; referring to me by my maiden name, which I haven't went by in 18 years. I have reported to local law enforcement, they have advised that since it's not a FL based co, there is nothing they can do. Tried the State's Attorneys office, again, nothing they can do, referred me to the FTC. I have reported this 3 times already. There is nothing I can do to stop the calls, I can't block the number because it is "unavailable" I guess these people can do whatever it is they want to do when there are apparently NO consequences.

Oh these characters called my mother and I had to tell her DO NOT answer the phone. I had to make a list of numberShe is recovering from a stroke (she has aphasia) and her mechanics aren't all there as she NEVER used to answer the phone when a number came up on caller ID that she didn't recognize.

i received a phone call from a (216)920-7684 number, who also called all of my relatives, my mother, my grandmother, my grandfather, etc home numbers and cell numbers, they left a voicemail on my phone saying urgent and the lady said shes calling about a order number WPG84660, something has caused an order to escalate at this time and if no contact is made by you on today to submit a statement of defense, something something against you, will be adeen avalid, her name is carry white, telephone number (she left) 216-920-9684 ext:122. when a call the number its like a fax sound or internet something. they never called back, but called my mother again.. i cant find any info on this place, and they never leave a company name or anything. when i call the actual number that was on my caller ID which is the (216)920-7684 it just rings and goes to a voicemail thing saying "all our reps are assisting other customers, you have reached the general voicemail box please leave your name and number and reason your calling. again, no company name. anyone experienced this? or have any advice?

This company has been calling me. Today I answered and said, "Since this is a scam, can you remove my number?" Before I could finish my sentence, they were already telling me they would put me on the DNC list. Funny, since I'm already on the Federal DNC list. Can someone please track these people down and indict them?

I have been getting these threatening calls. I do not owe the debt they are describing but they have all of my information including Social Security Number. How can I get them to leave me alone?

It's best to hang up on them and report them at ftc.gov/complaint. If they have your full Social Security number, you could be at risk for identity theft. It's a good idea to order your free annual credit report to see if there are any accounts in your name that you don't recognize. In addition, you might consider adding a credit freeze to your account.

"Mr. Perkins" from "Process Resolutions" from numbers (888) 507-7787 and (248) 509-0772 tried to steal from my Mother by claiming she was going to be sued for a debt by JP Morgan Chase and Citibank and if she paid $2000 today they would settle. Total scam, her credit report has no debt of any kind from these banks. I told them we had a lawyer and they hung up.

Just got a call from california (i live in indiana) leaving me a voicemail about thrm detaining me and kicking my door down within 72 hours and im guilty of fraud..yea im a housewife and a stay at home mom i have better things to do then commit fraud..hoping its a scam the number i called back and it rings forever im gonna hareass them for a bit see how they like it

I have received calls for phantom debts. I blocked the first number (from Kansas) & a week later they called from a second Kansas number (913-7305775}. The first call was unnerving. Luckily, I did not call back & Googled the number, where there were postings on this scam.

I got a recorded voice mail from 409. 241. 9859 and they claimed to represent the State of Texas. Said they would ACTIVELY peruse me at my office and home When you call the number it says hold for operator. Does one think if it was the state, the person would answer State of Texas?

I have been receiving calls over the last year from this "company" saying that I owe for a payday loan for advance america. For one, we have not had an advance america for about 8 years and two I never took a loan out. I keep asking them for documentation and of course, I never receive anything. At first they claimed that I took the loan out online. The more calls I got, the more I became suspicious so I called the corporate office of advance america. She used my soc and said she couldn't find anything and that dating back for at least 15 years. I asked her how to get a hold of their online office and she said "we have never done online loans" and you have to personally walk in with a check in hand in order to get a loan. She said that I was not the first person to call her about the same company, and she told me not to send them anything because it was a scam. Today, July 29, 2015 I get a call from a man saying he was supposed to serve me papers for court but couldn't make it to my house. He said to call 866-520-4718 and tell them to send the R.O.F. to him once I spoke with them. I look up R.O.F. and it is all military slang. It is scary because they do have the last 4 of my soc. Sec. Number. I would love to get these calls stopped but I am always getting calls from different numbers. Should I tell them that I have contacted a lawyer and if the calls don't stop we are going to file charges? Thanks.

For 2 months I also received calls from this phone number my college was stating that they were the district attorney of Florida and that I owed a payday loan and that there will be legal repercussions so I called 4011 got the phone number for the district attorney of Florida and called her office that's right her office the man who called me told me that he was the district attorney of Florida I thought it was odd I had just seen a commercial with her in it I said to myself but wait she's a woman so I got her number and I called her office have reported the fraudulent calls and then a month later I get this in my email thank you for this ftc is wonderful

here is another number calling people 6786615467

The same thing just happened to us. A phone call from 1-855-205-6187. Didn't have correct information, or just partial information. He could not provide us with any info regarding an attorney, collection agency, or anything. Said that papers would be served and court was in an hour and if we didn't pay $520. that after court we'd owe $2000 something. Lol ....seems legit.

Thank you for this i just got this Email and it has my REAL SSN whaT SHOULD I DO PLZ help

If you got an email that shows an official government seal, or says a judge signed, check it out. If it says it's from a government agency, look up the real number for that agency. Call them and ask if they sent you the email.

If the email is from a debt collection company, and you know you owe a debt, call the company that you owe. Ask them about your account. Find out if the company you owe is using these debt collectors.

The message could say you have a huge debt. It might have your name, address or Social Security number.  That doesn't prove it is legitimate.  Criminals will impersonate law firms, judges or court officials. They send email and make threatening phone calls to try to convince people to send them money. This FTC article tells more about fake debt collectors.

These people have been calling me, my husband, my mother-in-law for months now. I have even had them so busted with the company name, that they get mad and hang up on me. Each time its a different amount from nearly 7 yrs ago. They have all old info on me though, been moved for 10 yrs and changed banks 12 yrs ago but they do have old correct info. Yet, when I bought my house, nothing showed up when they ran me, and they ran me more than once for outstanding debts, unpaid accounts, etc. I may have even had a Payday loan years ago, but I know I paid them back and it was more than 10yrs ago. It is embarassing that they won't give up. I tell them off, and the calls stop for a week or two then they start up again calling my entire family. I'm so sick of this! We have to bust them!

Do not call 844-823-0319 back. Just don't do it. They are a fraudulent company and are not a law firm, court, etc..
Please see: https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/cases-proceedings/1023201/expert-global-...

This company is in the process of being slapped with a 3.2million dollar fine for their antics. If you have an iPhone and they are calling you there, do the following: Phone > Recents > (press the i with the circle around it on the right side) > Block this caller. For me they were using a local number. Block the local number as well (they always use the same one). Good luck!!

So my family members and ex-husband have gotten calls from the 214-504-2986 and they tell them I have a bad check and going to go to jail....scared my daughter who is developmental challenged and my father who is ill and 92...I call them and they are telling me I was suppose to be in court today...I told them I have not had a checking account in years....but then they changed the story to I owed some ambulance company...I told them they could talk to my lawyer and they said I didn't need a lawyer...I just needed to pay my debt before things got out of hand....seriously why has nothing be done to shut these people down....they should not be able to call and upset your family or work place...is this not against the law...I told them they would not get any money out of me...but how do they get all this information....it is wrong...I have been divorced over 20 years...and they still got his name...my daughters...my dad...how can they do all that...

I would assume they are using a background check service. All of that information would be obtainable there. They have contacted family members of mine that I have never used as references or anything...no way to link them to me in other words.

I replied back to the scam emails several times with various comments and they replied.

Take it in your A$$$$$$$$$$$$.

No kidding!

I guy name Nate schneider called my cousin and saud to have me call him before 3 pm or else i'll be in jail when i call back he was not there someone name bob newman the phone number is 2163022654 he told me to send 1,215 dollar thru money gram for a payday loan i told him i dont have money he said he 'll split into 3 pymnts of 405.00 starting June 26 but then i call the company that i owe money too they said not to send anything they even told me the name of the third part that took over my acct this people told me to send thru moneygram they shoukd be punished and be prosecuted and burn in hell

I have been receiving unavailable calls but a recording stated she had a fax that she would be dropping off at my place of employment or home. I recently filed bankruptcy so I have no bill collectors calling me. The number left for me to call back was 855-210-7047 her name was Rebecca Morgan. I called and I was told I had a payroll garnishment, I asked who was the original creditor and the account number associated with this debt. This unprofessional lady that answered the phone stated "Oh DA ain't gave you that information" I said no, she said well your last digits of ss# is I told her I know my ss# I need to know what account this debt is associated to. She could not tell me that. I explained to her it's against the law for a debt collector to contact me, before I could finish she said no it's not you live in a state that wage garnishment is legal.. I said ma'am about three times and she final was quite enough to listen, I told her I have filed bankruptcy and all debts were included, she told me I was still getting garnished and hung up on me. So if Rebecca Morgan called you, it's a scam!!

recevied one of these calls yesterday and when I questioned them they said you will be arrested Thursday at work and hung up. then when I called back the girl who answered the phone couldn't remember what "law firm" she was answering from

I keep receiving calls from 844-851-3181 and they leave messages asking form the wrong person. I've had this number for 15 years, so no reason for them to call to ask for someone else. I called back last week and they said they could find anyone by the name the left on my voicemail. They put me on hold and the hung up. They continue to leave the same message "this is--calling about an acct that is in default and you are being very evasive, this is going on record...we are pursuing criminal/fraudulent charges..." . So sick of these calls, I've already reported them. So now, I have been blocking each number.

Like you, I to recieved aphone message from the same (844) area code number. They said that I had till tommow by noon to call them back or they will have me served at my door with a docket case summons to apear in court. Shortly there after I then recieved a Bogas call saying they were my bank and its urgent to call them ASP.

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