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Stop a debt collector’s empty threats

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Calls from debt collectors can add to the stress of having financial problems. When those calls involve harassment, threats and intimidation, the situation can get even worse — especially if you don’t know your rights.

The FTC enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to protect consumers from deceptive, abusive, or unfair debt collection tactics. On June 23, 2014, the FTC filed a joint complaint with the State of New York against National Check Registry for violating the FDCPA by allegedly using outrageous and intimidating methods to get people to pay debts immediately — often debts that were in dispute.

Among the alleged tactics that National Check Registry used was telling people they had committed check fraud or another crime and threatening them with lawsuits, garnishments, arrest or imprisonment if they didn’t pay. The FTC and the State of New York alleged that National Check Registry routinely told people they had to pay within 12 or 24 hours to avoid having a local court system or law enforcement agency come after them. Frequently, the company would tell a person’s family, friends and coworkers that the person committed a crime or was involved in a legal proceeding.


In fact, these were empty threats. According to the complaint, National Check Registry has no authority to make arrests or seek other criminal punishments for failure to pay these debts.  


If you are facing debt collection, understand your rights. Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are not allowed to:

  • call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • contact you at work if you’ve told them verbally or in writing that your employer doesn’t allow you to get such calls in the workplace
  • harass or abuse you or anyone else they contact about you
  • lie about the amount you owe
  • use deceptive methods to collect a debt from you. For example, they may not:
    • falsely claim to be law enforcement officers
    • claim that you’ll be arrested if you don’t pay your debt
    • threaten to seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or your wages — unless they are permitted by law to do it and intend to do so
    • give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit reporting company
    • use a fake company name

Collectors usually are prohibited from contacting third parties more than once. Other than to obtain location information about you, a debt collector generally is not allowed to discuss your debt with anyone other than you, your spouse or your attorney.

Be sure to file a complaint with the FTC if you think that a debt collector has violated your rights.


Tagged with: debt, debt collection
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


You have rights when you're dealing with a debt collector. The debt collector has to send you a written validation notice that shows how much you owe. He has to send that within 5 days after he first contacts you. The validation notice should show you who you owe money to.

If you are working with the debt collector to make payments, keep copies of the letters you send. Take notes when you talk to them on the phone. Make copies of the checks you send. Keep a record of what you say and the money you send so you know how much you paid.

A debt collector could sue you to collect a debt. If the debt collector wins, the court would enter a judgment against you. But, the law says a debt collector can't say it's going to sue you, if it really doesn't plan to do that.

If a debt collector really sues you, you will get papers from the court. The papers will tell where to go and what date and time. You, or your lawyer, should go to the court to protect your rights.

I got a message from someone at the superior court saying someone had requested a warrant against me and to stop the judge from signing it I had to call a Robert Wells at a 213 number I called and got a voicemail wouldn't I have gotten some kind of paperwork from the court or the company that is putting this supposedly warrant on me? I

I got a all today saying i owe a payday loan they had my wife's name I remember Trying to get one but we were not approved or didn't o thought with it

They are telling me it was from 2013 And I live in bound brook nj But I have not lived there for years before that now they are telling me I have a court date on 7/3/17

Would the court have sent me something telling me when and where I have court not this company telling me

You have rights when it comes to debt collection.

A legitimate debt collector must send you a written “validation notice” telling you how much money you owe within five days after they first contact you. This notice say the name of the creditor you owe money to, the amount you owe, and how to proceed if you think you don't owe the money.

For more information, see Debt Collection and Fake Debt Collectors. If a debt collector sues you, respond to the court papers you get.

I have receiving phone calls everyday fr. Dept collector even at my work place i told then that I've been to the hospital last month and i have been struggled for my financial and alway force me to pay ive been stressing out everytime they call me specially when they saying if i didnt pay send my document to the court and provide me an attorney ive been recorded what she told latey ive been pay them a little bit thats why i can resolved a little bit of the money that i owe i ask them to give me moretime to resolve it but they keep calling me and threatening that if i didnt make a pay they gonna send my paperwork in the court i really need some advice about this situation because ive experience emotional desstres

You have rights when you deal with a debt collector. You can tell a debt collector that you aren't allowed to get calls at work. This FTC article says more about managing debt.

You could ask a credit counselor to help you make a plan to pay the debt. A  counselor will ask you all about your finances. A good counselor will talk with you and help make a plan that works for you. Some credit unions have credit counselors. The  U.S. Cooperative Extension Service has counselors too. Search online for "cooperative extension" and the name of your city.

I have had numerous collectors call me asking for money. I usually look up the people. Well today I got a call fro M & A Solutions. They told me I had taken out 5 loans online. I have never had a loan but for my car. They told me I had to pay 2700 today or make payments.....I was never offered to see where I signed. They told me a signed them electronically and these were considered bad checks and I could face criminal charges and it will cost me more in court cost and lawyer fees....I'm afraid they will try taking me to jail. I cracked under pressure and told them I have never had a pay day loan and my information must have been stolen. I'm nervous. That is alot of money to me. I have no way of paying that or payments. What do I need to do.

The people who called you might be fake debt collectors. Some fake debt collectors tell you to pay for loans you never took. They might have some of your personal information. They might threaten you, or say you'll get arrested.

If you think a caller is a fake, ask for his name, address and phone number. Tell him you won't discuss any debt until you get a written "validation notice." The notice must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor you owe, and your rights under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

If a caller refuses to give you all of this information, do not pay! Paying a fake debt collector will not always him them go away. He might make up another debt to try to get more money from you.

Recently I got a letter with the return address handwritten from a local Court and realized that the prepaid postal stamped zip code was from a different part of the state It was a scam letter from a collection agency acting as if it was a letter from the court with a docket number stating a lawsuit has been filed in court and included threats to garnish wages and attach property if I didn't " respond" to the lawsuit. LOL
First off...courts don't send letters like this urging you to respond to anything. Secondly...they don't have handwritten envelopes with handwritten return address from a postal zone 300 miles away
Thirdly... I've even seen in the past the debt collector ( law firm ) send a fake process server with the same fake " summons" to respond to the debt collector....
And I'm pretty sure both are fraud... certainly mail fraud for the letter addressed from the court in my county

You could report that to the FTC at , submit a Mail Fraud Complaint Form to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, or alert your state Attorney General.

I got an email from a lawyer saying they were going to take me to court for a past due Payday loan. I replied back with my lawyers info and told them if I did owe this it was charged off in my bankruptcy last year. I got the following email from this lawyer:

Hello, I know you are try to run away from this matter so,what i will do is i will go ahead and forward your case file to the investigation department they gonna come down to you at your place of employment or at your place of residence and once they verify you physically they will dragged you to the court and not even you along with you your employer and both of your reference will be picked up and will be taken to the court house and there each one will end up by paying the fine amount that is $5484.87 for not paying this loan on the right time. Your single will create a problem for you.

**Is a lawyer allowed to say I'm gonna be physically removed?::

I received a call from Allocation Adjustment Services and was told I had 48 hours to either pay or set up arrangements on a payday loan. They were very reluctant to give me their name or even the name of the supposed payday company. All the info they had for me was old like 15 years old. and refused to give me an address or letter to validate the loan because they had already sent it to my old address so I should have it. They have said that I will now being going to court because I was asking them all these questions and getting no answers even when I told them that I was reluctant because of all the scams. I cant find anything about this company on the internet. I am scared that I will get summons or garnishment of wages because I cant get in touch with creditor for any information but i did check my credit report and there is nothing on it from any payday loans. What do I do??

The people who called you might be fake debt collectors. Some fake debt collectors tell you to pay for loans you never took. They may have some of your personal information, and make threats like saying you'll have to go to court.

If you think a caller is a fake, ask for his name, address and phone number. Tell him you won't discuss any debt until you get a written "validation notice." The notice must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor you owe, and your rights under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

If a caller won't give you all of this information, don't pay! Paying a fake debt collector will not always him them go away. He might make up another debt to try to get more money from you.

I also received a call today from the same company trying to collect on a outdated Cash advance that I knew I paid off. They were using all these technical terms, but I am almost certain this company isn't legitimate. I googled them as well and can't find any info. I am not feeling comfortable with this interaction so I am not paying anything.

I received a call from this same company yesterday as well as my brother stating that I needed to comply and if I didnt they would see me in court. I jave to say tho. One of them got me a few months ago with the threat of being thrown in jail for check fraud. I have two kids and a husband that I was worried about and not thinking I paid them over $600 and he emailed me a letter saying the debt was paid off but it never said who the original company was that I owed. Looking back at it now I feel stupid that I got took but its over now and I will move on. But the reason that I mentioned this is because I “paid” that one and the same rep called me back the next day with the same monotone voice saying the exact same message as the day before saying that I had an issue that needed to be taken care of. That call came from florida now they are coming from North Dakota and I am on the upper east coast. Gotta be a scam.

I received a phone call from the same people Allocation Adjustment Services .They threatened me with court , wage garnishment , did not read me my "mini Miranda rights". They couldn't tell me who the credit holder was or the client they were collecting for. They did have my old bank information 4-5 years old. They claimed not to be debt collectors yet mediators. When I called them back they were hanging up on me . They used profanity and were very hostile mind you I kept my cool the whole time. I just wanted to be sure they were legit but them being reluctant to communicate were red flags to me. I reported them . If anyone wants to get a class act started against them I would be up for it. What they are doing is wrong and illegal. They need to be held accountable and taken out of business towards where they can no longer do debt collections and will be forced to pay people their money back.

I too just received a call from this “company” Waiting a call back from to file a complaint.

They called again, but they called my aunt's house. I called back and it's this same company. I told this company to send me documentation of this debt and they said they only send receipts and documentation for payment arrangement. I have worked and dealt with many collectors and this company and their practices are fraudulent. Please let me know Manu. These frauds need to be stopped.

Has anything more come from this? I am also getting calls

I feel like an idiot. They called my relatives saying similar cryptic terms. Mine was a long ago debt discharged in bankruptcy & my attorney confirms so. But they got me for $40 before I could stop and think. I am all in on a class action. Thanks to all of you commenting ahead of me bc I would have let their con keep going.

i have been getting these calls too. Claiming i owe money for a loan i paid off. Stupid me paid it and they are still calling and harassing me and my daughter. Thinking of getting a lawyer to try and stop the calls. Would do a class action suit

A lady called me day before yesterday regarding Cash America turned me in to another collection company and she was from Markum Mediation in New Haven, Connecticut. She said she was here to help me. I told her I don't remember that debt. I called Cash America and they never had me as a client. She said that it was an old debt and not in their system. She claimed I owe $1,000.00. She put me on hold and said she called the debt collector and said I could pay in four payments and would have to call by 10am on Dec.3rd. Help me

The person who called might be a fake debt collector. You don't remember the debt, and the company said you were never their client.

A fake debt collector might have some of your personal information, but that doesn't prove they are legitimate.

If you think a caller might be fake, tell the caller that you refuse to discuss any debt until you get a written "validation notice." The notice must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor you owe, and your rights under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Read about Fake Debt Collectors for more tips on what to do if you get a call like this.

i just received a call from a bill collector on payday loan saying they are going to have sheriff come to my work if i didnt pay back the payday loan that i took out. they were going nto get a arrest warrant fro my arrest i havent been sleeping. is this true or a scam and can they do this

A debt collector isn't allowed to say you're going to be arrested if you don't pay a debt. Federal law says debt collectors can't use abusive, unfair or deceptive practices to try to collect debts. This article about your rights explains more.

If you don't pay a debt, a debt collector could sue you in court. If they win in court, a judge could enter a judgment against you. The judgment would let the collector to get a garnishment that tells a third party, like your bank, to give it money from your account to pay the debt.

A debt collector contacted my relative and disclosed my debt amount to them and contacted them more than once regarding the debt. What are my rights to dispute this information or take action?

Report any problems you have with a debt collector to your state Attorney General’s office, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Many states have their own debt collection laws that are different from the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Your Attorney General’s office can help you determine your rights under your state’s law.

I had an accident last year that I was at fault. I have auto insurance but the car I was driving wasnt mine and I didnt know it didnt have insurance. My insurance refused to pay the claim so the other driver insurance put subrogation against me. I complained to the Department of Insurance and Financial Services and the other insurance agreed I wasnt liable and they will stop the subrogation against me. Now, I receive a letter from Douglas, Knight & Assoc representing the driver/the insurance company. They tell that they were advised that I "have been criminally charged and/or convicted for event" of accident. I'm not aware of criminal charges or convictions, and wasnt called to court by anyone. Just after the accident, I paid my ticket and had points on my license only.

I got a email at 455am saying I had 4 hours to contact them over a payday loan that was back in 2015 . stated they have sent me letters and tried calling me . but never once did they email me till now . said they would call my work and any family they could get ahold family . said they would garnish my wages and said they will contact local sheriff !

I just received an email saying was being sued for a certain amount and court costs. Didn’t say company or anything. Said attorney was Abbott who was the attorney general of Texas. Then listed another lawyer who was under the attorney general. I thought it was illegal to be informed by email. I’m sure the attorneys listed have more important things to do. I’m thinking this is a scam. Wanted to see what others thought:

I would think this is a scam as the Governor of Texas is Greg Abbott not Attorney General. The Attorney General is Ken Paxton.

I recieved a phone call from Allocation Adjustment Services months ago and they scared me into paying for a loan I took out on internet 9 yrs ago. they wanted 500 one lump some or 700 with 50 monthly payments. I chose 50 amonth payment hoping i can figure something out and not pay it a off I was supposidly late 1 payment and the tacked on another 100 late fee. Now that I am paying I am scared to stop bc i entered an agreement with them.can they take me to court for not finishing payment with them?
Please help.
I will ask for a validation notice.

My brother filed for bankruptcy protection YEARS ago & a debt collector is calling ME every day trying to find him. He has referred this to his attorney but the calls keep coming. What are my rights as a relative who has had their number found in a skip-search to stop harassment?

Under federal law, if an attorney is representing a person about their debt, the debt collector must contact the attorney, not the person.  If you're getting repeat calls from the same number, you could look at these tips for stopping unwanted calls.

What if they tell you that they won't setup a payment plan unless you first pay a large lump sum----how is this ok?!

I had a sherriff serve me with papers, after I responded to their law suit, they stopped all pr ok feedings. I haven't heard anything from them or the court in over a month.... isn't this harassment?

A computer repair shop is threatening for legal collections and consequences for the services they did not provide to me. I am not sure what my options here are and whether i should give into the threats and pay or risk having my credit impacted

Allocation Adjustment has been calling me, regarding a "old collections" bill. They were very aggressive and do intimidate me because of their "legal" terms. I called an Collections attorney and she advised me not to pay and she feels its a scam. In California a debt collector cannot sue you after 4 years. They can continue to try to collect but they cannot take you to court. Its not on my credit report. However how do you make them stop calling?

I got the samething going on right now with aloan. Calling threathing the law on me. Put me in jail. Taking me in to court in front of a judge. I have try to block the call and they still get through. Im having some financial problems. And i going to clear this up. But i don't need these kind of calls.

I just received 2 calls, one on my cell and one on my home phone and the message was word for word the same in both, same tone of the woman (? - sounded disguised a bit), except it was not my correct name - it was my ex-husband's last name. I have been divorced and have not used his last name for 7 years and I am remarried. "Hello this message is for ______________________. My name is Rhonda, I'm calling in regards to sealed documents that were sent out to my office this morning. You'll need to be available between noon and three tomorrow with two valid forms of ID and a witness to sign off on these documents. I will be stopping at your home first and then at your place of employment. If you need to reschedule or have any questions, you're going to have to contact your filing party at 855-603-5793, your case number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. You better clear your schedule, I'll be seeing you tomorrow...." Now I know I do not have any outstanding debts that would result in any kind of urgent action, especially not with that last name that I only had for 4 years at the most but it is unsettling to think that people can get away with things like this. Many would panic and fall for whatever this person says. There has to be something that can be done. And when I try to track down who owns the number, I get nothing except people saying they have received an identical phone call from "Rhonda". What else can I do?

I received the same call and my mother was called as well. I can’t find anything on the number except for complaints.

Got hundreds of calls at all hours of the day and night, messages on LinkedIn and Facebook FROM Tahseel, a debt collector from the United Arab Emirates. Threatening me with prison, an Interpol Red Notice, and extridiction back to the UAE for a post-paid phone contract that Etisalat (a mobile phone company there) illegally renewed in September 2018. I have been back in the USA since September. How do I stop the thousands of robocalls and other harrassment of myself and family? I already lost a job here in the US because of this as they called my employer nonstop.

I had a business which failed and one investor wants to sue me. The investor has made multiple threats of legal action over the past few years, including wage garnishment. Today she sent another text to say “They will take it out of your check.” Is this kind of threat allowable?

What's the point of filling in all the info for a company that called everyone you know to get your address to arrest you! They have all your info including you SSN last 4... No to mention there is NO real debt owed!


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