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Is that debt collector for real?

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It’s stressful enough getting calls from debt collectors for bills you actually owe. But if you’ve ever been harassed and threatened for debts you’ve never even heard about, let alone accrued, it can be downright harrowing – and quite possibly illegal.

Today, the FTC announced that a U.S. district court has temporarily halted a Georgia-based operation from using deception and threats to collect millions in phantom payday loan “debts.”  The FTC says Williams, Scott & Associates and company president John Williams lied and threatened people to pay on debts they didn’t owe – or debts the company didn’t have the authority to collect.

According to the FTC, the debt collectors claimed to be federal and state agents, investigators, or members of a government fraud task force, or they pretended to be with a law firm.  They falsely told consumers their driver’s licenses would be revoked and that they faced immediate arrest and imprisonment if they didn’t pay up.  How did the debt collectors even know to contact those consumers?  The FTC says many of the people had inquired about a payday loan online at one time and submitted contact information, which the company later got its hands on.  The case is pending in federal court in Atlanta.

Don’t get intimidated by a bullying bill collector – real or fake.  Any debt collector impersonating a law enforcement officer or threatening you with immediate arrest if you don’t pay up is violating federal law.

If you think a caller may be a fake debt collector:

  • Ask the caller for his name, company, street address, and telephone number. Tell the caller you won’t discuss any debt until you get a written "validation notice." If the caller refuses, don’t pay.
  • Put your request in writing. If you have the caller’s address, send a letter demanding that the caller stop contacting you, and keep a copy for your files. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires any debt collector to stop calling if you ask them to in writing.
  • Don’t give or confirm with the caller any personal, financial, or other sensitive information. Fake debt collectors, and other scammers, can use your information to commit identity theft and other crimes.
  • Contact your creditor.  If a debt is legitimate – but you think the collector isn’t – contact your creditor.  Tell them about the suspicious call and ask who, if anyone, the creditor has authorized to collect the debt.
  • Report the call. File a complaint with the FTC and your state Attorney General's office with information about suspicious callers. Many states have their own debt collection laws in addition to the federal FDCPA.

Learn more about protecting yourself from fake debt collectors and about your rights if you actually are facing debt collection.


Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


These are useful details for a complaint. Please report this to the FTC at The information goes into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

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I received 2 emails from the same Austin Burke as well as someone claiming they are from Washington state attorneys office so I contacted the states attorneys office and found out its a scam which I figured it was when I informed the fraudster that I was talking to my attorney over the email stating an arrest warrant was out in my name. He hung up on me but I continue to get calls frim Georgia, Texas, Florida, and California. Its always same person with Indian accent.

Is there a office of Atlantic there number is 18664177218 I asked for them to send me papers they won't and there address they say they can't give out that ibformation they had some other number call me and threaten me

Report any problems you have with a debt collector to your state your state Attorney General’s office, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau The article Fake Debt Collectors provides tips to help you handle calls like the one you describe.

same thing is happening with me. I first got a call from 3105961417 she states she is just a locator and for more info call the 866#, I called and spoke to a man. Now the same man is calling from the 310 # threatening to take me to court. Offices of Atlantic are posted on numerous scam websites,i called and asked multiple times for an address & website and everytime I get hung up on and they refuse to mail any paperwork. one of my friends were harassed and got scared and gave her debit card over the phone, her bank did research on them and they stated they are most definitely a scam. their complaints are also on the BBB site and they are not legit, don't be afraid, do not answer their calls just let them call you all they want to they cant do anything. they cannot report to credit bureaus because they are fraud.

I got email i owe this company and they ace cash and i owe 8000 but settle 546.00 and they had number to call but wont answer phone than threaten to forward my case and said see me in court

If you really have a debt with the company, the debt collector has to send you a written “validation notice” telling you how much money you owe. He has to send it within five days after he first contacts you.

This FTC article tells about your debt collection rights.

If you don't have a debt with the company, the person who called might be a fake debt collector.  If someone wants you to pay a debt you don't recognize and won't answer the phone, he might be a fake. He might threaten you and try to scare you into sending money. Read about what to do if a fake debt collector calls.

Hi. I got a message from 855 729 0747,claiming its central dept of legal services, they left me a voicemail regaurding some legal documents/court date, that was undeliverable to a previous address im no longer there. Everytime I call the office no one picks up and for me to leave a message. Can you help me if this is a scam.

It could be a scam.  The person who called could be a fake debt collector. A fake debt collector might do these things:

  • tell you to pay a debt you don't recognize
  • refuse to tell you his mailing address or phone number
  • make threats or pressure you so you will pay 

A real debt collector must send you a written “validation notice” that tells how much money you owe. The debt collector must send the notice within five days after they first contact you. The notice must include the name of the creditor you owe money to, and say what to do if you think you don't owe money.

This FTC article about debt collection tells more about your rights.

Can these people at ACS be sued for harrassment? They repeatedly email me even though I told them to stop and that I knew they were fake. I have also blocked them but they still keep coming through using different domains. I just want the emails to stop. I've already reported them.

I just got a call yesterday . Mrs Roberts stated she is from The Dept of Legal Services and they are a liaison for Allied Bank . She stated I took out a payday loan Nov 30, 2009 and did not pay it back . I asked her what was the name of the the payday company . She said they represent dozens . She stated last month the attempted to deliever legal papers to start a civil suit , but they was undelieverable and they will sent them . And someone needs to present cause if they are not . The civil suit would civil be awarded to the company and they could garnish my wages .

I received same call from Mrs Roberts. Saying the same thing unfortunately I gave them 50 but once I read up on them I did not give them the 1000 they wanted from me and could not get a hold of her again. Now a guy is calling me from legal services saying they are going to garnish my wages and serve me.

I just received an email threatening that theres a warrant out for my arrest. As it goes on i could just call and make a payment to resolve. I never had a loan in sept 2015. What should i do?

If you know you don't owe the debt listed in the email, the email might be from a fake debt collector. This article tells more about what fake debt collectors say to try and scare you into paying, and what to do if a fake collector contacts you.

Hello i received an email as well cash advance services by someone name david brown sr.investigation officer is this real or fake

Tanya. These people who are calling you are complete scum. I have litterally called them over 150 times today alone. Thank you for supplying the number by the way. The first time I asked for Austin amd they put some guy on. I ran my mouth to him (I will not say exactly what I have said due to the extremely vulgar language used) and he told me "you will be behind bars sir!!). Then hung up. Now they just keep hanging up on me. Or will send to voicemail. Or really maturely they will hold down a button. So basically don't worry about these people. Tell them to f** off and they will leave you alone.

I just got the bejesus scared out of me while at work! Some lady threatened Bank Fraud Charges and stated she was with the state of Texas. I pulled the number she was having me call because her call came up private number and then realized when she sent me to ASG the collection agency it was a hoax.

Is ASG a real collection agency?

These FTC articles tell more about your rights when it comes to debt collectors.Report any problems you have with a debt collector to your state your state Attorney General’s office, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Is ASG a real company because i just got a call from tgem today?

That's great! I suggest simply ignoring them and then blocking the number. They often spoof a local phone number to trick you into answering. I even received a call from number "10000000000". I didn't count the actual number of zeroes. Just ignore. Then, ignore again. And keep blocking the numbers.

I keep getting calls on my cell that says fraudulent caller and threatened me with an arrest Warrant and as soon as I tell the call is being recorded they demeanor changes and they hang up. Also,I keep getting marketing calls to sell me a warranty for my truck and the one I have hasn't expired, so I call them call them to they're information information get a recording that is I want my # removed press 1 or 2 and it never happens. They just keep calling. How can I make this stop, they are constantly harassing me and a complaint has been filed with the authority's. It seems they eqnore them. At ropes end.

If you start getting repeated calls from the same number you can contact your phone provider and ask if it charges for a service that blocks a particular number. It's best to ignore illegal calls and robocalls. Don't interact. Don’t press buttons to be "taken off the call list" or to "talk to a live person." Don't call back. Responding to the calls in any way will lead to more calls.

You can put your phone number on the Do Not Call registry. Access the registry online or by calling 1-888-382-1222.

File a complaint with the FTC. Report the experience online or by calling 1-877-382-4357.

FYI... I got the call today! His name and number has changed its not Nick Walker (909) 666-5776. IT'S A SCAM! I have never had any legal issues.. Ha ha! Nice try!

I got one from Arkansas this morning.I was warned from Collection Bullies that I was susceptible for these types of copycat scammers back in September. Unfortunately, I confirmed all my sensitive information.

I got a call like this today that said they were from Colorado AND TWO WARRANTS WERE BEING ISSUED FOR MY ARREST FOR NOT PAYING A PAY DAY LOAN. When I asked how do I know they were legitimate they read off my information but couldn't provide me with the company who I had borrowed the money from. Apparently they are still at work. The gentleman told me he was from New York and the company title was Intel Direct.

A debt collector can't issue a warrant for your arrest for owing money. The caller was most likely threatening you into paying, which is illegal.

The FTC’ s article Debt Collection has information about your rights if you owe a debt.

People emailing, then some lawyer talking about respond in 4 hrs, or arrest warrant issued on Wenesday at 3pm. Money gram billing information they refused to give me. They couldn't verify the date of loan, called their hot line but a recording came on. Now today another email stating my case will be registered.

They called saying I owe an old debt 3 times in past month the most recent number was 866-670-6823. They threatened me with criminal charges on payday loans and arrest as well at home or work. I paid them around 700 dollars the last time, last summer. I WAS AN IDIOT!!I have paid 3 different scammers over the past 4 years who threatened me on some old pay day loans, and I paid about $2,700 in total owing these debts to these weird 800,866 numbers claiming to be debt collectors or legal services. Never got receipts or copy of the debts from my payments, I just paid them because I was scared,and I knew of these loans along time ago and because they threatened me with court actions. I was stupid and did not know my rights when I paid them. Now they continue to call me every other year or so saying I owe the same debts. I know I didn't take out any additional pay day loans except those 3. I think these people just took my money and probably have done so to others as well. Be careful,do not give them your money and speak with an attorney or you have the right to take these actions against a debt collector that violates the FDCPA:

File a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau against the collector.
File a complaint with your state's attorney general.
File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
File a civil suit in your state or federal court for up to $1,000 including damages.

People, WAKE UP. You got scared so you paid. You have this thing called a computer. Before paying some one, DO SOME RESEARCH. I've been on this road for over ten years now. I can spot a scam in seconds. If you're that SCARED, go online an research, research, and research some more. Information is at ypour finger tips. When I get a call and it says Hi, I'm Jessica Sanders with Johnso Smith & Associates, blah, blah, blah, and I'm in defaut, and have until such and such day to voluntarily settle or they will file on such and such a day. ....1-Who did she call? 2-Pay over the phone to someone you don't know? Really? 3-what is their address? That's usually when they hang up .....if you call. I DON'T. Wise up people. Use your head. Don't panic. If you owe a debt, call the company you owe the debt to. 800notes is a good site to check out scams. Legitimate companies also warn if scammers are using their name to scam. Look up debt collection laws and your rights. I even challenged what looked like a Legitimate letter from Oxford Law Associates. I sent a letter back................................
May 23, 2014
Judy Brannen
115 S 19th St Apt 2
Lebanon Pa 17042

Oxford Law LLC
311 Veterans Highway
Suite 100
Levittown, Pa 19056

Regarding: Account Number: 6952552

To Whom It May Concern,
I am sending you this letter in response to a letter sent to me on May 13, 2014 Please be advised that this notice is being sent, pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 USC 1692g Sec. 809, and that your claim is disputed and validation is requested.
I am not requesting "verification" or proof of my mailing address, but a request for VALIDATION made pursuant to the above named Title and Section. I request that your offices provide me with competent evidence that I have any legal obligation to pay you.
Please provide me with the following:
Name of the original creditor’s name, address, and phone number.
A copy of the original contract with my signature.
A statement with the last payment from me
Explain and show me a break down of how you calculated this amount you say I owe.
Provide me with any paperwork or copies of papers that show I agreed to pay this amount.
Prove the Statute of Limitations has not expired on this alleged account.
Provide me with a copy of the agreement between you and the original creditor that allows you to collect this debt.
If your offices are able to provide me with all of the proper documentation as requested. I will require at least 30 days to review and investigate this information and during such time any collection activity must cease and desist.
Also, during this validation period, if any action is taken which could be considered detrimental to any of my credit reports, I will consult with legal counsel for suit. This includes any listing of any information to a credit reporting agency that could be inaccurate or invalidated or by verifying an alleged account as accurate when in fact there is no provided proof that it is.
If your offices fail to respond to this validation request within 30 days from the date of your receipt, or do not provide me with the proper validation, all references to this account must be deleted and completely removed from my credit file and a copy of such deletion request shall be sent to me immediately.
This is an attempt to correct your records, any information obtained shall be used for that purpose.

They closed the case. Imagine that.
1.Demand the person give you his or her name, company name, and address
2.Demand a debt validation letter by US mail. E-mail no good.
3.Do not pay the collection agent or anyone else a dime until the debt is validated
STOP AND THINK>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>DON'T PANIC

Does anyone know If you can be charged with a felony. If u get a loan an ur bank account gets closed out. I'm told I defraud the bank on purpos . Which I really didn't. Any help would be so appreciate it

The U.S. Department of Treasury has questions and answers about national banks and bank accounts.

You'll find some answers about bank accounts there.

What ever came about of this case. I am being told the same thing but my account was closed due to NSF I didn't go in and close it

I received and email from these very people...I knee it was a scam. I since I never took out a payday loan but just made an inquiry it didn't have any debt. Since there was a number attach to the email I called...ask questions, never gave up any information then I told the man never to email me or contact me again. Then I procecced to call and harrass them Calling over and over again asking them how does it feel to be harrassed...they sent me to voice mail so I continued to leave a voice mail every ten seconds for the next hour. Finally the man picked up the phone and told me he was going to report my number for calling him. I said go ahead I have the email to show your a fraud. He hung up on me, I waited 2 min and called Him back asking home if he reported me. I am going to continue to harrassing these Idiots for the next week or so then I am going to change my number. Point is give them a taste of their own medicine and they will back down. OK got to make a call and harrass this fool in this sleep....

I laugh when I get these fake warrent's by email. People you cannot be served ANYTHING by email. My carrier was with the Sheriffs Dept, unless you just to harass these people back, delete and go on with your life. Now me?, I just find it entertaining to email them right back pointing out the errors and sometimes sending the fraud alerts and telling them they should read up on themselves.

We got a letter in the mail that we are being sue for a payday loan in California.And the loan amount was $300.00 at a place call www.Loan Shop in the month of June 11 2012.It under our old checking account number from Chase 2 years ago.So I call chase to see if they can send me a copy of my checking account for a copy of 2012 in the month of June. Just received the copy and No where on my checking account of a 300.00 direct deposit or withdrawn.So I call SAR and Associates back with this info and they will send any infomation on my sue and I will not send them a copy of my checking accounts.

I received an email from Financial Crime Enforcement Network stating they have a case # on me and it is from Advance USA payday loan in the amount of $500. He ask me to send payment by money gram and how much I am sending. I know i applied cor a payday loan but was denied... he also said he was an attorney and if I didnt make a payment I would go to court and go to jail.

The same thing happened to me so many times now I have someone calling Friends of Friends just leaving the name and number I don't know what to do

I just got a call but he had all my information including my ID # and address.. I don't know what to think

I have been called for the last two days by phoenix financial about a online loan I suppose to have made in 2011, they have called my relatives, my wife and threatened me with a warrant for my arrest. I do not do payday loans and most certainly would not take a loan out online for $450. I filed a police report in dupage and where I live and reported them to the FTC

People keep calling from 210-600-9895 saying they have my name and social security number on file I’m sure it’s a scam I don’t bother even answering this is craziness

I received 2 back to back calls today from FR Mediation from a Richard West, ‭+1 (833) 728-4819‬, investigations unit, telling me I had fraudulent charges being brought against me. I called them back after listening to the voicemail they left me. I asked who exactly are they and what exactly that was and to describe the charges being brought against me and they continued to interrupt me and they raised their voice and asked to confirm my name and last four of my social. I tried to ask more questions and immediately they became irrate and defensive and said that my case is now going to be forwarded to the county that was filing, since I wasn’t listening and not cooperating. Very stressful call. I had a feeling it was a scam. Which is why I asked questions. I believe they caught on to me and abruptly ended the call.

This is the message left:
“_⁠_ _⁠_⁠_⁠_ _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ my name is Richard _⁠_⁠_⁠_ _⁠_⁠_ calling from a far mediation investigation _⁠_⁠_⁠_ that I would need to get a statement from you today concerning a _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ complaint filed against your name as well as your social here _⁠_ _⁠_⁠_ I’ve got **** I noted for _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ hold on case number US Dash 117033 I ordered to return our call today no later than 3:00 PM Eastern standard time I can be reached at 888-203-3937 extension 101 again that's 888-203-3937 extension 101 N. _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ notification…”

Hi this is a scam they called me today from 734-418-7645 and 855-303-7711 saying I owe money that I need to pay now today or it will be filed with Wayne county for fraud saying they name IRC processing and when u call it rings into voicemail

Repeated calls from Western Aquisitions Group for a summons for one of my adult sons on my phone. Located in Albany, NY - 1000's and 1,000s of complaints against them. They will give no info.

How do you stop real collection agencies from calling you looking for other people. I'm listed with my first initial in the phone book, so get calls from agencies looking for anyone with a name that starts with my initial and my last name. They usually remove my phone # and stop calling for that person, but before long, someone is calling for someone else. It's been going on for over a year. These people are in no way associated with me or my phone number. They appear to just be randomly searching for them.

I received a call from Pro Res Ofc, using the 800-829-1040 claiming they were tax forwarding dept of the IRS. The male claimed there was a legal petition notice against my name and social security number. There is no such action as far as I know. They wanted me to call at 202-580-8078 to talk with them. I think it's a scam and needs to be investigated.

I received a call today from a similar number 202-508-9812 when I called back the number was either busy or stated that the person was unavailable and the voice mail was full. I reported them today

Same thing happened to a friend of mine they spoof various phone numbers I did speak to them and they sound like they are from the Caribbean or Africa 202-580-8078

I just received a call also,,says from District of Columbia on my phone ID ,, same story owe back taxes sheriff comeing to arrest me , # 202 864 1280 Detective kevin Peterson he said his name was, very thick accent

I got a few calls from the same guy with a thick accent. He never used my name or his, but was very threatening and said if I didn't call back to "have a nice life" and that the local authorities would be coming to my doorstep.


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