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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


Phone scam claiming there is an outstanding debt. Phone call from a woman, recorded message, of a case number and a phone number to call back. The number on my machine was 704 585 8987 (Charlotte N.C.) However the number she leaves to return the call is 407 231 4722 (Atlanta Ga.) These were last month. Now, same woman calling again, only the message is "...since I didn't respond to previous messages...this is an attempt to collect a debt. Any information obtained will be used for that purpose." Clearly trying to sound more intimidating. But the phone number now, on my machine, is 312 796 7155, supposedly, from New Frontire, Ma. The prefix 312 is actually Chicago Illinois. What's interesting is that this recording is the same woman. Probably hired to do these recordings that are then used by whatever scam group is gathering people's phone numbers in attempts to get money from them. Since I don't have any outstanding debts or concerns regarding this type of threat, it is clear that my phone number has been picked up and is in a system that uses this woman's recordings to get myself, and the innocent public sucked into this type of "debt collection" scheme.

these numbers are scam people
they will ask you for money you never owed to some loan compnies or they ll threat you with police arrest
pls dont be affraid tell them they re a scam!
they know your name and last SSN

Received a call from a company called Titan Mediations stating I was being investigated for fraud. They threatened to send my file to the Sheriff and said they would call my dad ( who passed away 2 years ago). I told them to go ahead and send the file to the Sheriff and I would at least get something official...they hung up. Lol.

I received a call from a 571-210-6590 this morning. The woman said there was a criminal case against me from a USA Cash Loan in the amount of $1108.63. What scares me is that she not only had my old address, bank name, and birthday, but she had my driver's license number. However, when she repeated the last four of my social security number, I told her they were wrong. She said, "that's probably a typo sweetie." She was very rude and kept talking over me. She said she would "have an attorney in my jurisdiction call me with a first appearance court date" and I told her to go right ahead. When I googled USA Cash Loan, nothing came up. When I googled the phone number, it is not a traditional phone line, but a VoiP (Skype, Google, etc). This really sounds like scam because I have done payday loans, but not online.

Got a voice mail message on my cell, regarding my son, saying:

“This message is solely intended for you Joe Smith.
This is Rachel Hopkins, private courier, give me a call today regarding sealed documents that require your signature.
The Reference number Joe is ⁠145-5268.
I’m going to be headed out tomorrow between 12 and 3 PM so you need to be available with an ID, and a witness present.
I’m going to be headed out to the home address as well as your workplace.
If I can’t reach you there I’ll have to speak with someone in HR.
After that I’ll head out to a few family members homes just to see if they can help me locate you better.
Be aware that if you don’t sign off, it will be a mark against you, as well as a missed appearance and further action will be taken.
Any questions or concerns, or if you need to reschedule my appearance, you could contact the filing office directly prior to my arrival at 877-907-9255.

I received the same calls in the last week of April from the same Rachel Hopkins! I live in Texas. Wow this is some shady stuff. Luckily I never answer or return calls I dont know.

Received a called from this number 1(916) 476-8784. They said they worked for a law firm and had my previous address. They also mentioned i owed $1,000 from some cloan company. Granted they lied about thier location because the number is a California number and i am not living there. They are full of crap so please avoid this scam.

I recieved two separate calls from different numbers in different states, but it's the same exact person using different names claiming that I need to pay back a Federal Student Loan and that I should call her back on payment options. she doesn't identify who she is with or contacting (me) and I've never taken a loan in my life, much less a Federal student Loan.

The numbers and pseudo names are listed from most recent to the first:
Sarah Williams 850-547-6244
Deborah Hall 618-374-0441

On the last call she left a number to call back at: 866-537-2233

She also left differneing "reference numbers" on each call. sloppy scamming here

I just received that exact same call today from Sarah Williams and she provided the same call back number.

Received a message also, Sarah Williams 866-537-2233 or 912-785-9247, concerning student loan. Never had one. SCAM!

this company calls from (877)720-0439. they refused to give me any of their company information or location. they have called several family members, claiming i used them as a reference and saying they MUST sing for paperwork or pay a fine.. they refuse to put a superior on the phone. but still demand payment. . For one, i have never used these specific members as a reference on anything. i have not seen or spoken to this side of my family in years. the guy "miles" claims e represents 10 companies but refuses to name any of them.

Received a call from 412-227-8600 (A.Moore - caller ID) claiming I owe a payday loan from Integrity Loan- person calling Investigator Daniels stating total owed is $1356.38 - of which I may be able to pay 1 lump sum-or 3 payment

My sister recieved a call stating I was in trouble and that I need to contact (323) 203-1825 immediately with a case number 177241. It was a lady that contacted her but a man that answered when I called. I called the number and John shamet ( answered the phone. he said he worked for a suppose law firm and that his company was the checking division of CAS ( I googled this company and nothing popped up). He stated I was being sued by a company for check fraud that happened supposedly in 2015. My choices were to either settle for 1037 dollars the same day or face up to three charges in court. Scared I chose to settle over the phone and started a transaction with the individual. I gave him my back account information and rooting number to do an online transaction through e check. Immediately after hanging up the phone I called my bank and told them about the situation. They said it was most likely fraud and walked me through the steps of changing my checking account and moving my money to the new account before they could claim anything. 4 days passed then I received a call from the same individual this time under a private number. I didn't answer and he left a voicemail stating the check never went through and that I had 1 hour to contact him or he would have no choice but to forward my information to the court. I never called back is this fraud?

I got a call from a 855-371-8499 stating I may be getting something sent to me by someone and would need a form of Id for verification. they never even said where they was calling from which is why I thought it was strange. anyone else ever go this. it was a voicemail?!

I received a call from an Angelina Panzanella from "The County". She says that there's two companies who has retained her services for charges that I have made financial fraud. She has run my social and found that I have never had a charge like this and it is important that I have a voice in the situation. She continued, if I call I wont need counsel or to appear. If I don't call she will come to my home or place of employment. She gave a reference number and call back number 877-727-7317. This is a scam.

Same exact wording was in my voicemail to call the number 877-727-7317 but said her name was Rebecca Delaney and she called from 877-727-0995. Said she was from "The County". She says that there's two companies who has retained her services for charges that I have made financial fraud. She has run my social and found that I have never had a charge like this and it is important that I have a voice in the situation. She continued, if I call I wont need counsel or to appear. She gave a reference number and call back number to speak to a Ms. Moore

Same exact wording used in all my voicemails.

Received phone scam voicemail from Katherine or Catherine Hill. Says I have unsecured credit debt and need to call 866-527-4884
Use reference number 019093.
Did not call. Complete scam. I see this name was used as far back as 2014.

Phantom Debt Emails from the National Debt Solutions in Atlanta, GA. Using different Attorney General Names.

Getting threatening robo-calls daily from pirated numbers belonging to our state's areas codes . I block one number and it comes in on another. All messages instruct me to call 1-855-614-0180. Below are transcripts of the voicemails:

"Slightly because you may have some preconceive notion as to the reason for this _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ you your information has been provided and verified by the Social Security number of the direct party we are trying to reach to receive full disclosure to the full nature of our contact you will need to call our office is directly at 1-855-614-0180 once again that number is 1-855-614-0180…”

“That was forwarded to our office for review and processing since we have no record of contact from you on file at this time we wanted to inform you that you do have the right to provide us with a verbal statement from either yourself or if your affairs are handled by power of attorney your statement to offset any decisions made by my client moving forward we can be reached at 1-855-614-0180 that number again is 1-855-614-0180 thank you for your time…”

“Important personal matter that you may have direct or indirect involvement with due to the nature and importance of this information federal laws do not allow us to disclose the full nature of the matter in this message we _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ to contact us at 1-855-614-0180 by the close of business today so that we can confirm your involvement again the number is 1-855-614-0180 thank you for your time…”

I have received similar calls regarding debt. I have tried to be polite and explain that I have incurred no debt since bankruptcy but they insist. I have asked them to send details. They just continue to supply me with daily harassing calls. This is super stressful. Why isn't there a place to report this - how can law enforcement allow this to continue to happen? I am older and if I did not have some cooler heads in my family I may have just paid them. It there is a place to report it - I gave up looking about a 1/2 hr ago

I got a call from 877-841-4943 they stated I owed for back taxes and I was audited. I never received anything in the mail regarding this. They said if I go to the IRS office in my home town that they will arrest me.

1-832-284-7322. Texas number. "Hello I'm Kimberly Watson (not her real name as she called me Kimberly when I called back to call her out on the scam) and I'm a compliance officer. I have legal documents on my desk. Local law enforcement wants to press charges today. This is serious and not a joke. Call me back by the end of business today." When I called and said I wanted to know why she was threatening me, she said she wasn't and asked if I was aware of any legal charges pending against and then tried to say I took out a payday loan from Cash Now (not even a name I recognize) and local authorities were standing by to come press charges. As if that's how it works. I hope no one actually falls for this b.s.

I just had the same call but it was on my voicemail calling from Huston, I live in fl.. saying I need to call by the end of today. Something about the local authorities standing by and legal documents filed against me. Every time I call back I get her voicemail

Got a call from 844-817-1018 claiming I owed 5/3 $2931 for a closed account. If it went to court there would be fees bringing the total to $4592.

After research and calling the courts and 5/3, no such case exists.
Watch this number

We received a phone call from this number with a similar story. They are claiming to be the Law Office of National Alliance Group and said my husband has a judgment against him for over $2k in overdraft fees from a 5/3 account he closed in 2009. There was a class action lawsuit regarding this which my husband didn't participate in (but could explain how they have his SSN). They asked for his address so they could serve him, but also said that most people choose to settle out of court to avoid paying legal fees. Total scam..

My brother got a letter. It states he has a judgement against him for $899.90. When I called to get further information. They asked for an account number. Only number on paper is court file number. He asked for a ss#. I told him he is dumb and never to send anything like this again. He asked me to call back when I has a account number.

Got call Lindsey Myers 844-964-2428 saying she letting me know I’ll be served and I’ll need my supervisor to ok it. Also to call her back. Only problem she was calling for someone else not me. When I called her to inform her she had wrong number she refused to take me off call list and warned me I’ll continue to get calls.
She also would not tell me who she works for or any details.

951 228-7435 caller: Hello, this is Scarlet calling from your home owners association about reported safety concerns about your home. I replied. I don't have a home! Before I could finish that sentence I heard a loud beep and was transferred to a recording that said 'scanning.. everything looks okay so far'. stay on the line while....I hung up.

I began receiving calls mid June. At first, it was from a 714 number, then 951, then 888 ... These numbers would call me at least 3 times back to back. When I finally answered I was greeted by a man stating that there was a pending law suit against me and that I will be served within a few days.

I was completely clueless and asked for more information:
(who are you, why are you calling, what debt?)

HE was thrown aback and was like, "What, you are unaware, let me place you on a brief hold"

He proceeded to say that they'd send me several notices via US mail and received no response (LIE; I didn't receive any) - Resulting them in taking legal action and now with a balance of 4,000+ because of court and attorney's fees!!

I demanded answers -
He said he couldn't "disclose much" until the debt was settled.

I asked validation of the debt, their company information (address, number, license #) - He said I was asking for "A LOT" of information. He went on to stay that the original creditor is Wells Fargo, back in 2008... I own Wells Fargo nothing! I called WF and THEY had no history of such debt.

Anyway, I told this gentleman who answered the phone as "legal dept" - I will not come to any solution until you send what I requested... he said, "Okay, I will email you" -- The email never came. This was on June 24, 2019.

NOW, my sister received a call in reference to me and a pending lawsuit + court reference #.

I called them back and asked to not call anyone other than myself, immediately. I asked what sort of tactic is that and questioned if it was even lawful. Two different CSRs hung up on me. The first gentleman, who's name I cannot remember has been "serving" me for 2 weeks now. This is bologna!

After reading this blog, I realized I am certainly not alone. I believed this man for a split second.


Their emails always have grammatical errors. Hover your cursor over their email address and it’s always
They rarely have contact info other than responding to their email.

866-239-3768- called 22 times this week saying they had papers for me and if I didn’t respond they would come to my work or home. Called them and they said I owed money on a MasterCard and wanted me to confirm the last 4 of SSN (which I didn’t) another anointing scam that happens daily & it’s annoying.

This came today via voicemail, I have no student loans at all.

Calling from number 502-684-0896 "Yes this is Cynthia Bates. I'm calling in reference to your federal student loan. I need to discuss your repayment options with some new changes that have taken effect recently so if you could please be sure to give me a call back. My number is 866-508-4554 and I'm gonna give your reference number if
you would please have this handy when you call back that'll make things a lot easier. Your reference number is 800202. Thank you." - Spectrum

Mailbox xxx-xxx-xxxx has a new voice message from 5026840896 (502-684-0896). Length: 31 seconds Received on: 08/19/2019 10:59AM (CDT) To listen to voicemail and change voicemail settings online go to: voicezone. timewarnercable. com. This is an automated message. Please do not respond.

Received a voicemail from an unknown caller yesterday, 08/20/2019, and the transcription states: " Afternoon this is Michael from ___dispatch service this is a courier service now received a contract ___(my name here) and (last 4 of social security number here)this is going to be a legal notice that I'm bringing you tomorrow the state law requires that I notify you before coming on your property um so that's why I'm leaving this message I just need you to make sure that you're home tomorrow um I just need your signature so I don't have anything to do with your paperwork if you have questions about what I'm bringing you or if you need to reschedule the number is 844-475-1179 otherwise just please make sure that you are home to sign for this tomorrow afternoon should be about three 3:30 or so if it"s going to be any later I will let you know ahead of time all right so I'm just gonna call you when I'm outside to make sure that you're there tomorrow otherwise make sure you call and reschedule your delivery thank you..."

I received a phone call about an auto renewal for $399. However, they didn’t say for what company. I called the number. The gentleman with a middle Eastern accent rush the name. I asked him again what was the company name? He said Windows for Microsoft. I said that doesn’t make any sense to me. He ended the phone call.
The ph. # (360) 208- 8417

call from 888-849-7116 about some judgment totaling over $6,000 with legal fees, etc. Tries to sound official by saying "this call is being recorded". Wouldn't elaborate when I asked for more detail.


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