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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

I filed a complaint. Thanks

Keep getting calls from (214) 504-2986 making theats about check fraud. I don't even own checks. They have my name and phone number and keep threatening me.

The crap stated about that "you people need to pay your debts" is BS. I have a credit rating over 800...I owe nothing past due...ever. Got a call from unlisted number...told me (did not state a name of who they were referring" to call 844-823-0319 or be served papers and that calling would serve as process. I called and spoke to "Marie" of PDA Group. She asked if I was an individual, who I was not. I asked who they were and how they got my info and she hung up on me. I called back and got a beligerant man who told me his address was 1 Commerce Street, Nun-ya Business. I asked him how he got my info and that it was illegal for him to leave recorded fraudulent threats like that on my voicemail (my cell phone is on the "Do Not Call" registry. We exchanged banter, and he told me to go "F" myself, that he would do what he wanted to do, and that if I knew the law, do something about it. I filed an FTC complaint, but I am sure nothing will come of it.

So much for those of you who must work for these creeps and say off the wall BS like "pay your bills and you won't be called". If that were the case, Federal Legislation would not have been passed to provide criminal penalties for these "upstanding" people.

Agree ... FCC should be involved. Simple online paperwork for a complaint.

They keep calling for my son and i keep telling them he is here and to come serve the papers. When they ask to talk to him I tell them he can't come to the phone because i killed him and buried him in the back yard because of all these phone calls from you people but the law hasn't showed up to dig around!

I had one of those calls. The person claimed to be an attorney for Shearman & Sterling law firm.
I did a little research and found the actual website for Shearman & Sterling, LLP and did a search for the person in question. There were no results, which clearly indicated that it's scam. I'm not falling for it.

I have the same problem saying I owe for check fraud on a bank account that has been closed since 2008. I do not even write checks. I contacted my local PD and filed harassment they are now giving me options to filing a formal complaint through the state.

i spoke with a nice lady named ms. knowles. i'll admit when she first called i was mad as hell but i knew i owed the debt and the right thing to do was pay my bill. i care about my credit and it's just not worth it.

You're one of them!

You spoke with a nice lady named Ms. Knowles....hahahaha! I got a call from 214-504-2986. I called from a blocked number, and "hey, I just answer the phone around here." They wanted to know if I got a recorded call and was it my name or someone else's. I didn't answer their questions -- my response, if you can't or won't tell me who you are, what your web address is, who you represent, give me a court or a case number and a county, I can't give you anything and don't call no more. I'm saying that any legitimate debt collector will not go about business in this manner. It is not legal, nor is it ethical. Challenge them people!

I recieved a phone call today saying I needed to give them a call back immediately regarding a bad check from a company called SGQ Processing. They called from my area phone number & left a 844-823-0318 number for me to call. I called the number back & spoke to a lady name Ms. Carter. 1st she said I owe $260 that it was a loan deposit into my credit union acct on July 16 but the acct wasn't opened until July 19. I recieved a pdl in July but it was not deposited into my credit union acct. So I'm trying to understand how they got all of my information. Plus the pdl company doesn't have a working number to verify with them if they sent them my information. But I need the phone calls & harassment to stop.

I had a voice mail regarding my husband's ex - wife. They used her two previous married last names and stated this is Investigator Wilson (woman) and I'm looking for. ..then stated she wrote a hot check over $1400 dollars and if she didn't contact her then she will have a warrant issued in two counties. I notified my husband's ex and let her know to keep her private info as concealed as she could because scammers are contacting me regarding her and her private matters.

They had better leave me alone my attorney is ready to file suit

My father has been receiving weird phone calls from BANK ONE , which I do not even remember my father even having. SARAH WILLIAMS and a guy kept calling the house. My mother, in which my parents always do joint accounts, spoke to the person and refused to speak with her, he wanted to speak to my father in particular. Today, 7/24/2014, they called demanding that he can either pay his debt or asked to be summoned. My older sister who answered the phone call said "send it." now we will wait. They even know his name, our old home address and his last four social security. I did some internet research and saw this page, and I was telling my parents about it and how when i answered the phone call, what some of these people say, I witnessed them saying. I kept questioning them and they told me "well call back." So advised my parents to not give out any information. Now we are just waiting for the summons.

You will never receive a summons. Almost 2 years ago I received a similar call stating that I was wanted for check fraud. When I researched the phone number along with the "Lawyers" office name, it came back a construction company. They gave me a bit about how the Police were already looking for me & I would be arrested plus have to pay back the debt. I knew it was bogus & of course no cops ever showed up & no mail was ever sent. Getting the last 4 of the SSN is the new way to scare people into believing it's real.

I just received a call from an "UNKNOWN" number & when I answered a recording stated my dad's name and that he need to contact number 214-504-2986 due to bank or check fraud. No bank or company name was mentioned, only the number. So, I figured it was a scam and looked up the phone number online, which brought me here. I hate scammers! Just wanted to add my 2 cents and another line that may be used in some of the calls.

SCams

I received a call today from a lady claiming to work for "county legal", her name is Courtney Wade and she stated that if I didn't call this number that she was going to serve me with papers at my house on Monday.
When I called the number, they were saying they were going to file criminal charges against me for check fraud. I took out a payday loan but payed it back last year. This stuff really makes me nervous.

They already know that through public records which they either bought or stole which is why they are able to make you nervous. Remember that a company can never tell you that you will be arrested. Only the Police know that. Debt collectors cannot have you arrested either. Not paying back a debt only means they can report it on your credit or sue you. Always verify whether anything you get in the mail is valid and do NOT return phone calls. If you do not answer or return the calls, they will move on to someone else.

Been getting messages from 214-504-2986 about check fraud under my mothers name. I called back the numbers which is just cheesy muszak, and eventually a random voice mail box. Clearly this is a scam, many comments here have also listed this phone number. How come nothing is being done about this? Utterly ridiculous.

My mother, brother and I got a call from them today saying I committed bank/check fraud.

These scammers state that they are from a legitimate law office in Minnesota, and when I called that law office, I was informed of this scam. The phone number that connects to these scammers is 218 630 7007. They are at a call center in India, and they use phone numbers that are not traceable and are computer forwarded.

I been reading and received phone call for the same number, I hope that this is not true.

I used to get these all the time. The last time I said "oh damn, they caught up with me. Thanks for letting me know, I'm changing my identity today. What was your name by the way?" They hung up on me.

by the way, I read somewhere about a company that will let businesses make calls using rotating numbers. I don't remember much about it, just something I happened to read but after reading these comments and going thru the same I remembered the article. If this does, in fact, exist then it would seem that would be the place for the D.A., the IRS etc, to start looking and suing. Has anyone heard of this?

Keep getting calls at my place of employment from a middle eastern guy going by the name Paul Davis. All he says he is from is legal department. My employer keeps telling them I may not receive personal calls at work but yet they keep calling. Never once have called my personal phone. They also told my employer that I need to call them that I owe money which I know is against the law for them to tell them that. Also from my understanding it's illegal for them to keep call my job if told to stop.

Okay, this is getting ridiculous. Got a call from 214-504-2986 regarding that i have committed check/bank fraud and would be taken into custody by the end of business today if I didn't call back. Not only did they call me, they called my Mother and my brother. I only write ONE check a month and that is for my car payment and it has NEVER bounced. Time to nail these scammers!!!!

I have been getting tons of calls from places like these mentioned. I have taken out the payday loans but have paid them back and they said if I didn't pay 491.16 I would be arrested at my workplace (which they keep calling also). So I panicked and told them I couldn't pay that right now and he said it must be by the end of the day or you will be arrested tomorrow. So then he said I have no criminal record and he wanted to work with me (he says he is from an attorney's office) and he split the payments up and had me pay 200.00 and I did. I was so nervous from his threats and I have applied for a few online loans so I got nervous. I asked if I could by debit and he said no the only way was through a prepaid card you buy at the store so I did that and have now paid the 491.16 but now he says they show where I applied for more loans than I am allowed to and that I owe 1800 and if I don't pay I will be arrested. I feel like it is a scam but he is so sure of what he is saying it makes me afraid... can they arrest you that way? What is the best thing for me to do in this matter? Please help asap thanks

I'm sorry I just typed a reply to you but didn't send it correctly. Please look for it under my username Furious!

I am so, so glad good people exist in this world that reports stuff like this so other consumers can be aware. I received a phone call last week on my home phone from a 8556839228. She stated she was from the dept of Legal Services and she was looking for so and so (she stated my married name and also my maiden name, which I have not used in 15 years.) She stated that if I did not call back that Friday or Monday, I would be held in contempt of court. contempt of court for what I started wondering....well anyway, I called today (Monday) and they say the person who called me is not in today and I had to leave a message on her voice mail because my account was flagged and she was the only person who could tell me what was going on. I asked her what she meant by flagged and she stated that there were 3 counts against me on my case and she transferred me to "Stephanie's" voice mail, where I left a message. Now I'm starting to think this is a scam after reading all the above. has anybody else received a call from this 8556839228 number? When I do reverse search on the number, nothing comes up.

I rec'd this call 214-504-2986 stating bank fraud/check fraud and I called back and the mail box was full. What the heck is this place and what is true?

Concerned- NO THEY CAN NOT DO THAT! DO NOT SEND ONE MORE DOLLAR>
If they continue to call or harass you tell them you are reporting them to the fBI and Att.General. Tell them you will be recording any future calls and if they are unwilling to have their calls recorded you will not speak with them again. Tell them that they should send any future correspondence through the mail, get a PO BOX and give them that address. IF they send you anything bring it to a lawyer(you can ask about pro bono-no fee lawyers in your area,)
You probably won't need to do much more than tell them you've reported them and that you will be recording all calls- that should end it. These people are only interested in people that might send them money. If you take charge, don't argue just stand your ground, let them know you are aware of your rights they will leave you alone as you are not profitable to them.

I'm getting calls from a private number. It has happen everyday this week. Today he left a voice mail stating that he will be out to my place of employment or residence. He is american. I dont owe anything. It just scary. I have not answered the phone yet, just went to voice mail. Should i keep ignoring it?

Unknown Name
Private Number

We are contacting for Linda C------- in reference to an allegation of check or Bank fraud. It is imperative that we speak to you regarding this allegation. Our office has been mandated to contact your employer to verify your employment to issue paperwork for you to appear in court. If you wish to stop set action press nine or call 2145042986. Once again contact us at 2145042986. You have till the close of business today."

In 2011/2012 I got a similar call several times. I finally changed my number. A week ago I got an email stating I have a lawsuit pending from FTC because of unpaid payday loan. Worrying part they have my SSN and previous address. They are threatening that they will garnish my check.

I understand why you'd be worried about identity theft here are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Find more information about identity theft at ftc.gov/idtheft.

Found a voicemail on my phone this afternoon saying I was being charged with bank fraud or check fraud. I was going to call back but I always Google numbers before I do. Then I saw this at the FTC and confirmed by multiple search results. Same pattern as a lot of other comments, like I had to call back before the close of business or I'll be taken to Court, and my employer will be called to verify what I don't know. I'm not calling obviously as multiple sites identify this as a scam. Beware if you get this type of call leaving the return number of 214 504 2986. My number is on the do not call list but I still get calls from scammers like Rachel from Credit Card Services, the guys from India claiming to be from Microsoft and telling me my computer is full of viruses. I had them this morning as well.

Has anybody been receiving threatening calls from a 8556839228 number. They called, said the were with Department of Legal Services, said I was being sued because of a payday loan that I know I never had. They gave me a case number that contained the last 4 digits of my ss#, said they would put a lien on my car, serve me papers and hold me in contempt of court. That is what Stephanie left on my voice mail to my home phone. When I called her back, I get a Tonya who states that a Stephanie did not work there, but she would assist me. I gave her NO info but she placed me on hold and came back with all the same info "Stephanie" left on my voice mail. I'm assuming because my name and number showed up on her caller ID, she went from there. I told her I owed no payday loans....never had one and she says she will transfer me to Linda in the legal department. Linda answers, tells me the same bs, but she in turn is very, very nasty about it. Making threats, and then hanging up on me. I call back, she answers and says "what, just look to have a warrant issued" and hung up again. I have Googled that number, reverse white page searched that number, even used my Spokeo account to search the number and nothing comes back. I know its a scam but just wanted to know if anybody else has received a call from this number.

Yes, I have. Please do the following with that phone number if you have an iPhone:

Go to: Phone > Recents > (press the i with the circle around it on the right side) > Block this caller. For me they were also using a local number. Block the local number as well (they always use the same one). Good luck!!

These people hit Tennessee today, particularly, my home. Just want to add validation for myself and obviouly, others. I was threatened by a place called Global Accusitions who states they are "litgators". Said they were from Dallas 'Texas and something about check faud, litigation. They would not give me information about what law firm they were calling from. What their last name was. they hung up on me 4 times. I can be just as much as an idiot as they can. Called Bar Association in Texas. they confirmed that this is a scam and they will threaten your professional license, garnish wages. They told me that I had better look out because I'm going to be supeoned for court in a few day and hung up again.

Got a call from someone in Atlanta Georgia who claims that they are from "Clark Fuller law firm" and that im going to have 3 felony warrants for my arrest for bank fraud asap if i din't pay the x amount of money within 2 hrs. they had all my info and sound really professional? SCAM??? IDK...

So they called my dad's cell and my cell with the same scam about Bank fraud. But when you call back with your number blocked, they don't answer. When you show your number a woman answered rudely and asked what I needed. I told her that your people keep calling me you tell me what you need. She asked for my number and I told her that she should see it if that was the case. She got annoyed w/me and said good luck when you get picked up on a warrant and appear in court and hung up. I think everyone should flood their lines and tie up their phones to prevent outbound calls or talking to people that will fall victim to their scam. The number was 214 504-2986

I called the 214 504-2986 and got a "Rick". He stated he was with Global Aquisitions and asked for my first and last name. Stated there was a HSB loan that was not paid and had been to several collection agencies for an amount of $3926 and that he was the lead litigator on the account. And if I paid $1800 today, he can stop HSB from taking it to court where I will pay the court fees and interest on the unpaid balance. If I don't pay today I could be picked up by my local law enforcement at my place of work. Then, ends with "what would you like to do?" I told him I will take my chances in court and he says good luck! The only scary thing is they had the last 4 of my ssn but didn't give me any specifics. Be careful because it sounds very real but it's not. I checked my credit report.

Got a message from this number about a week ago. Called back to see what it was about, immediately got call-waiting music, than someone's voice-mailbox. No company was mentioned, and the name was said via recording, not a person's voice.
Got a call today from another number (3022410396) with basically the same message, called back again and was told I owe money on a card I paid off over a year ago. The woman I spoke to(Sandra) told me I could settle today for $800. I told her I wasn't settling on a credit card i already settled. She asked if i wanted to start a payment plan. I said no, that I wasn't paying because i already had, and that I'd find the info on this card and call back. She gave me the 214 to call back. When i asked why i was given 2 different numbers, one in Dallas and one in Delaware, all she said was that was their number. Oh, and at no time was I given a company name, even when i asked for it.

Got a call from 512-960-2251 that left a message saying I was going to be served and called my family and said I have a warrant out for my arrest. I dont. They refuse to give me any information when I call them and then they hang up on me after telling me I will be served. If i am going to be served how do I already have a warrant out.

latest twist is that an individual calls and says they are aware of pending litigation against you and they want to know if you have an attorney. when you hang up on them, they call back and begin to threaten that if you don't talk to them, they will come after you with a warrant for your arrest. Do yourself a favor, hang up on them again....

I received a call today from 469-275-0057 which sadly I answered. The lady was rude, telling me I was facing criminal charges and jail time etc and asked if a certain name was my madien name(which it was but I didn't confirm). I ask her what this is in regards to and she gets snippy and yells that it is criminal charges and asked if I had been contacted about it. Then she tries to transfer me to Mrs. Dunlop? so she can explain to me what the charges are. I hung up, and proceeded to block the number. When I did reverse lookup on the number, it says it is a cell phone. What telemarketer/debt collector that is LEGIT uses a cell phone? They are nuts!

These ppl called my wife-INLAW!! ACCORDING TO HER
THAT HAD TIL END OF BUSINESS DAY TO HANDLE
SERIOUS ISSUES. CALLED THEY HAD ALL MY CHILDREN EX-HUSBAND AND FAMILY INFOR.
However could not give me any information to verify what they were even talking about.. IVE BEEN DIVORCED 23 yrs...SERIOUSLY !!! IS THERE ANY PROTECTION AGAINST THESE PARASITES THAT MAKE A LIVING SEARCHING FOR PEOPLE TO PRAY UPON THE EFFORT IT TAKES TO CREATE THIS MADNESS SHOULD BE FOCUSED ON AN HONEST LIVING
WHY CANT THE FCC ATNY GENERAL OR OTHER AGENCIES DO SOMETHING TO SHUT THESE CROOKS DOWN WITH PUBLIC AND SEVERE PUNISHMENT SO JUST MAYBE IT WOULD SEND A MESSAGE!!!!!!

Elderly scammer- 514-243-2531 calls to report family member in jail and send debit infomation asap

Caller tried to scam my elderly grandmother in California. Said he was a lawyer and his name was Harvey Dyson from Morris &Associates. A caller called her number claiming to be her grandson who lives in St. Louis, Mo, was in jail on a drunk driving charge and needed her debit card to charge a $5,400 plus $400 lawyer fee to get him out if jail today! His phone number is 514-243-2531. SCAM!!!!
We noticed the phone number's area code, then called the grandson and he picked up right away. Never was in trouble. Filed a complaint to he better businesses bureau as a scam! Please be aware !!! Do not send your money!!!!!

I've been receiving a phone call from 866-258-1104.. I never answered it and they have only left a voice mail 2 times it's an automated voice mail saying "This message is for (my husband's name) if you are not () please hang up thus is an attempt to collect a medical debt.. well they never called my husband's phone just mine. And my husband hadn't been to the doctor in like 8 years I checked our credit report nothing on there showing anything in collections. I did try to call it back it is for Npas solutions I never talked to anyone it just kept saying I'd you wish to wait on the line press 1 I just hung up. I only called back because I wad concerned about medical fraud but again there was nothing on our credit report all three of them. And we haven't received a letter from any collections agency or a bill.. what is everyone's thought on this?

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