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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


I got the same call 800-829-1040 from Pro Res Ofc. Thank you.

We got one on recorder this am from 888-385-0228 claiming to be the treasury department and if I didn't call back as soon as I got the message they would have me arrested for financial problems with the IRS. Eastern woman accent, am sure not from USA.

This was probably a scam. You can report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 800-366-4484 or online. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in your complaint.

I have been getting calls from (636) 333-6046 Stating that I had a payday loan out in a state that I never lived in. I found out on a credit report that there was an address that I have no knowledge about. This "Collector" was very rude and yelling about it, even though I have told him repeatedly that it wasn't possibly me that obtained this loan. Also claimed that he was sending the sheriff to put me in jail about the matter.

Thanks for sharing your experience. You can file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at Also, the article Fake Debt Collectors provides tips to help you handle calls like the one you describe.

I received a call from Pro Res Ofc 800-829-1040 agent calling himself Jeff Martin ( I think, because his accent was difficult to understand.) He said he was from the IRS, the Internal Revenue Service and that I owed money. I expect I was not the only one receiving such a call, but I hope this information helps you track the scammers.

I received a phone call from a company called Global access litigation company. The women on the phone was Mrs Joynes. She stated that I owed MyCashNow for a loan of $300 and I'm being investigated for fraud. She stated that I received a payday loan from My Cash now in June of 2010 and that after I received the $300 direct deposit I cancelled my bank account. I have never heard of MyCashNow and I did not recieve a $300 loan from them. She said that if I dont pay they are going to have there investigators come and serve me with papers. She also said that I can pay $400 today and get a paid in full statement from them or I can go to court and pay around $5000 for legal fees.

I got the same thing yesterday, but only this time that they are going to send me to court. If i don't arrange a payment then they are going to give me a summon, what can I do?

If you're getting calls from a company you don't recognize and haven't done business with, it could be a scam. Our article Phone Scams has additional info that might be helpful.

Same thing is happening to my husband right now, said he took out a payday loan on Feb. 28th 2011 , my husband and I combined our checking accounts and his was closed on Feb. 4th 2011, they are now harassing my husbands place of businees stating they are going to serve him at work, calling his work, calling his work and claiming they are from the sheriff's office in our county and are verifying protical of how to serve him at work, I called the local sheriff's office and they have no records or paperwork saying they have anything to serve him!! When I called this company back and said nice try scamming me they started screaming at me and said they were coming and gonna take my husband to jail!! Nice try!!!

I received a call this morning from a middle eastern man. He said I had a loan out that I didn't pay back in the amount of $8000! He said I would be arrested, they would come to my work, and I would be in jail for 30 days!
A few months ago I had the same type of call but they called my work number and harassed my co-workers to put me on the phone.
This time I told the gentleman to Bring On!
I went to my local police dept but there was nothing they could do. The scammers will change phone numbers as quick as they can.
Please don't be scared of these slime balls!

Same thing happened to me a few months ago and they started up again in the last week. I told them to send the cops to my work or home because I work for the local sheriffs department. They stopped calling a while back but they are being horrible this time.

Received an email with the subject line of Final Notice Before Arrest from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network for a past due payday loan debt. They provided the following information:
Fax: 866-889-2812
Phone: 202-506-9282
Section Office r: Eric Matthews

I would expect that if this was truly a government agency, the email address would end with .gov. This is clearly not the case.

Due to the formatting,spelling etc, this cannot be a legitimate document.

Take caution if you receive such an email.

I got that same email... What did you do ?

Call from a Brian James- (he had an accent also.)at 202-864-1281. Said I owed money to IRS, and he had an affidavit for my arrest and read a list of all the things that would happen to me if not paid immediately. He called again 2 hours later!This needs to stop!

I recieved a call today from #(202)506-9680. They told me basically the same thing- that IRS did audit of my taxes and that I owe them $8,000.00 something dollars from 2008-2009 taxes, and that they were going to take any property, freeze my bank account, and suspend my driver's license- I was a nervous wreck! Then he connected me with the "senior officer" who said his name is Alex Cooper( with a accent from India).

I just received a voicemail from the same guy. The heavy Indian accent made me Google the number and question it. Glad Ai did.

I just got two voicemails from the exact same number, exact same name. But, my phone never showed a call and the message obviously started in the middle of whatever pre-recorded spiel they'd set up. I didn't call the number he gave, since I'll always wait for something in writing from a bank I've actually dealt with, and I've never borrowed anything except student loans.
It's still a scary call, though!

Same happened to me. I called back and tried to inquire further. I didn't give anything but my phone number to "kevin johnson with the IRS".

And then he said "oh, you're scare huh?" and hung up. I called back about 7 times and they kept hanging up.

How can we get on a do not call list? Or better report these instances of harassment.

I got 10 emails from this past week from lawyers offices telling me to download the zip file to read my court papers to appear in court. this is just crazy and i just wish the crap would stop. The only good thing is i don't get the phone calls just the emails. thanks for listening or reading

Received a call from 213-223-7900 stating they are looking for my car, reported the car missing and can repo it.

I received same message from 202-864-1280 saying they are from IRS and the sheriff is coming to arrest me, cause I owe money. I owe nothing it's definitely a scam, has heavy Indian accent. I just filed a report on this site, hope they catch them.

Thank you so much for this information. One never knows when someone may call on you.

Got a call from Rebecca Outlaw from Outlaw and Griswald saying they had a warrant and federal check fraud charges against me. Left call back 210-762-6845, second call 210-693-0046, caller id was 210-764-6282. Scammers in San Antonio, TX. Do not give any info. Bottom feeders that refuse to get real jobs.

When we returned from a vacation, we had a voice mail asking us to call back at 202-506-9680 to avoid legal action from the IRS. When we called, we were told we owe money to the IRS and were facing legal action and that someone would call us back with instructions on how to settle the debt. We got a call back from 800-829-1040 and the person said we needed to pay them within the hour - using a Rite aid debit card. They hung up on us when we asked for proof that they were legit.

Thank you. Got a message from that same# today and at first was a nervous wreck, and then asked them why now?! Told them I do not have $8,000.00 to give them. They had accent from India and the guy said his name was Alex Cooper. They did not get any info out of me. Going to report them.

I got the same call, same name too.

Ive heard that name before that same guy Alex cooper scam me out of $500. and they said they work for one of netspend debit card companies.

Woould like to find out if Moorcroft Debt Recovery ltd or akinika debt recovery formerly trading as iQor recovery services are genuine companys

I and my employers are receiving calls from a 303-566-8631, 805-842-3989, and a 541-914-8837 stating I owe money and demanded my boss to start garnishing my wages. when my boss asked what the name of her company she was representing was, she never replied just kept saying she would fax the garnishment letter and was super rude.

While the extortionist tactics are similar, the fake tax debt calls are a somewhat different matter from the Atlanta payday loan thugs. The faux IRS agents tend to emanate from South Asia, and would therefore be much harder to throttle from across an ocean.

There is little doubt to me, from the recent pattern of complaints, that the fake tax debt calls spew from the same gangs of hoodlums who would otherwise accuse you all of "check fraud" from an old payday loan. Their bullying talkoff scripts are still "wishing you luck as the situation unfolds", and other well-worn phrases. Probably using the same scripts with a few scribble marks over key terms.

IRS Warns of Pervasive Telephone Scam

Scammers continuing to pose as IRS agents

202-580-8078 they call pretending to be from the IRS and demand immediate payment or an arrest warrant is issues 202-580-8078 202-580-8078 202-580-8078

You can report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 800-366-4484 or online. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in your complaint.

I received a recorded call this morning from a 202-506-8649 stating they were IRS and I needed to return the call ASAP. I called them back and told me that I owed a large amount of money from Taxes 4 years ago and that what I submitted is not what IRS had on file, and that it was too late to stop the proceedings and I would be arrested and put in prison for 5 years, my house taken, my license suspended for up to 40 years. He asked what I wanted to do, I told him I wanted to fix the problem. He said okay and transferred me to another guy and he said that I had an hour and half to come up with half of the amount owed in cash or the would continue with the charges, they would not give me any extra time. I asked them what do I do when I get the cash, he said to call back at this number 202-506-567 and he then would tell me where to send the money and would have to pay 200 a month after that till paid off. I got off the phone with him and Immediately called the IRS number and spoke with them and they said that it was a scam. Do not give any personal information out. These people were very adamant and aggressive and will actually make you think your in the wrong and scare the heck out of you by telling you your going to prison. Beware people.

I just got the same thing from the same number. it's for sure a scam right?

I just got a call from that same number, 202-506-8649. It's for sure a scam. The IRS would only contact folks with tax troubles by mail first. The gov't does not give people initial notice of anything by phone, it's always first by letter. The legal concept of notice is taken very seriously by the gov't.

I received several calls today from 800-829-1040. I was threatened about being arrested and going to federal court for commiting fraud. The number provided to call back was 202-580-8078. The person speaking had a very thick accent so it was very hard to understand. They had my last name accurate but the first name was not.

I have been receiving phone calls from a bougus collector's local office in Miami 305 507 4577 stating that I owe 1200 to a payday loan company and offered a settlement for $510.00 if I could make a payment over the phone to avoid legal charges or they would serve me with legal documentation. They connect to another number 844 823 0319 and 855 969 8599.

So they're not real right? Did you verify that?

We r having the same issues and it's annoying we r also getting calls from a 512 area code which is registered to Texas numbers they r linked and all fraud and always asking for $510.00 and even at a few times asked me $3000.00 for 2 charges wow what the huh no ways they r sick sick ppl with no lives and need to be stopped cause they have so mu check of my husband and my info even family members they r calling old employers and friends and family where or how they get this idk nut it's sick and so scary and unsafe

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.

has anyone confirmed whether or not a "debt collector" is real or fake from the phone number (214) 504-2986?

Found a message on our machine today from a man with a thick Indian accent. Said that we owed nearly $1000 to the IRS for the "2011-2012" tax year; and that if he received any further complaints, he'd send his agents with a warrant for our arrest. Seemed bogus from the start: he mentioned some "Department of Levy", our state's police department (who should be little concerned with a federal tax bill) and that his name was "Deputy Chris" (rather informal). He left this number: 919-714-0101. Picked up when we called; seemed interested in discussing our case until I asked him to resend the supposed March 2013 letter that described our situation. Then he hung up. Of course a call to the IRS (though with a long wait time) revealed that this was bogus. He laughed when I suggested that the IRS probably doesn't go and arrest people for $1000 mistakes in taxes from two years ago! The IRS man indicated that they always provide ID numbers, as he had at the start of my call to him. Did a reverse phone look-up. Linked to a supposed XO Communications in Raleigh, NC. Their website looked very slick; hard to know if it's a legit firm.

The IRS is warning about this scam. You can report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 800-366-4484 or online. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in your complaint.

There is a company that is calling and leaving a voice mail stating "you are being investigated for check/bank fraud and we are going to contact your employer to verify employment and you will be summoned to court. You have until the end of business today to call us at 214-504-2986". This is a SCAM and a Boiler Room operation. How do we get them shut down?

I received the same call today with the same phone number.

Got a call from New York, NY and was transferred to (281) 301-1638. Told that my husband obtained a pre-paid Visa Card, a judgement had been issued against him and that an arrest warrant would be issued. Checked his credit report. No such event happened. I knew he hadn't applied but was worried about identity theft. These people need to get a life. I am not paying you $700 for a $991.75 pre- paid card that I never applied for.

This is the transcription of the voicemail I received... Because of the heavy accent, some words were transcribed incorrectly (but you get the gist):

Ohh Hi Sarah, Good Morning. This is Officer, Kevin P, just calling you from the I. R. S. Touched Internal Revenue Service. For the tax Crime Investigation you. The purpose of the called me to you, just let you know that. You are being listed as a primary suspect, and he's been filed by the I. R. S Today we received some leverage for the. Sabins here in regards for tax fraud committed by you. So we're about the issue on Mon. Bring the arrest warrant. The being stupid about this and the put weight I could do extra further work to get your rest. So, I'd like to speak to you long on the link between the ages. On (202) 864-1280. I repeat, it's (202) 864-1280. Do not disregard this message and its home. Goodbye.

I just recieved the same exact message. The Computer didn't mentioned my name though. I Tried calling the number back but no one picked up and there was no voice mail.
This is really stressful.

Hey everyone, so my wifes gets a voice mail saying she owes the IRS and that if she doesnt pay she will be arrested. They called from this number 2025808078 and sounds like a hindu speaking man. I just called a secong ago and ask why didn't I get a notification by mail, he said it was on his way and then I ask what else he needed. He then requested some additional info and then I Laugh said " I'm on to u fing bastard" and they hang be careful everyone, don't fall for it...


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