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FTC racks up charges against unscrupulous debt collector

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If you’re behind in paying your bills, you may be contacted by a debt collector, but that doesn’t mean a collector can treat you unfairly. Under federal law, debt collectors — including collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them — can’t use abusive, deceptive or unfair practices to collect from you. But not all debt collectors play by the rules. Case in point: the U.S. Department of Justice has sued, on behalf of the FTC, Texas-based, Commercial Recovery Systems, Inc., a debt collection company that allegedly impersonated attorneys, law firm staff, judicial employees and mediators, and falsely threatened people with lawsuits, seizure of their property, or wage garnishment. All of these practices are against the law.


It’s important to understand your rights if you’re ever contacted by a debt collector. And if you believe a collector has violated those rights, the FTC wants to hear about it. Your complaint gives us a lead to follow up on, and may stop it from happening to someone else.

If you need help regaining control of your finances, check out the FTC’s free information.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


Great work, FTC! Now please put an end to the largest fraud currently preying on the latino community- Herbalife.

This is fine for Texas but what about the other ones like ACS/ACE. They send arrest warrants, court dates, call your work place, sending threats about holding SS/retirement checks and send nasty emails? Are they okay? It scares people especially the elderly.

If you're dealing with a debt collector, you have rights under federal law. We’ve written on this blog about it before and you can also find information about your rights in this article. Debt collectors are prohibited from saying that legal action will be taken against you, if doing so would be illegal or if they don’t intend to take the action. In addition, debt collectors may not contact you at work if they’re told (orally or in writing) that you’re not allowed to get calls there.

If you think a debt collector has treated you unfairly or has violated the law, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at

I have had all these things happen to me, just to make the arrangements they set up and have them demand more, threaten me on my cell phone and at work until I loose my job, get futher behind and start the process over again. I want to pay off my debt, I want to improve my credit score, but, you are made to feel incompetent and can never get off of the hamster wheel! I would like info on a fair and professional service that helps people like myself get back on track.

If you need help dealing with debt, you can contact a credit counselor. A reputable credit-counseling agency should send you free information about its services without requiring you to give details about your financial situation or pay any money before they provide services.

I was subjected to an unruly collection agency who was collecting a debt I owed to the VA. I tried to pay the debt ($ 4,800) back to the VA, and VA did not give me the chance, just sent it to this agency, which kept boosting the amount up. By the time I had all the information needed to send in this overpayment, I paid out in excess of $ 25,000.

The Illinois cook county is doing something similar to me,I bought a Toyota Camry from my cousin at Miami for about $1,200.00 and I paid $83.00 to transfer the the car in my name.i gave$460.00 to guy to bring the car for me at Evanston area. I Went to the Secretary of State and paid for everything.A year later they sent a bill for $175.00 as a no retailer sale tax use,they failed to told why?I am not a car dealer.They wanted me to have an RUT-50 form for tax exemption something like that.They are wrong one thousand time wrong, but they get power,now they sent me to the collection,because I resold that car for $700.00 to repair an other truck I got to work as an independent contractor at a company located at Arthur Elkton Grove Village.I need somebody to helping me.

What happened to Debt Pro 123? Any charges against them? What will happen to the money we paid them?

I emailed before, after I read this about the agency in Texas. I do not know what to do about this ACS/ACE Collection Agency. I have received arrest warrants, court dates, calls to my part time work, threats about freezing my SS checks, retirement checks and now they are threatening to freeze my bank account. They have already screwed up my banking account by trying to take money out as marriage counselors so now I can only use my debit card at certain places. I spoke to State Police, Sheriff's office and State's Attorney and they just pass me along between them telling me that it's a scam but I need my checks to survive and I am afraid that if I don't give them all the money they want I willhave nothing. They sent me an email the other day about an account from April of 2012 saying that I have not paid on it. I told them that I have bank statements saying they did take the money and they replied that it wasn't them. The company is Cash Net and I told them that it was funny that for every withdraw from my account said Cash Net. I borrowed $2100 total from these companies and have paid back over $3,000. Last month they told me I overpaid $100.00 and they would return it but all of a sudden they found another loan, surprise that I could settle for only $149.00, imagine that. How come some companies can do this but you stop others?

You can file a consumer complaint with the FTC at It's important to submit a complaint because investigators from all over the country access the FTC's complaint database and the information you provide could help if there's an investigation. Watch this video to learn more about how to file a complaint with the FTC and why it matters.

Also, the FTC has a lot of information on dealing with debt collectors. This article tells you what they can and can’t do when collecting a debt from you. And here's a sample letter you can use to stop their calls.

Brilliant Idea, FTC join with use

I had an Identity Scam used on me. I was e-mailed a proposal for a pre approved loan in the amount of $5,000 from Cash Express. I immediatly called the company to accept the offer, as I really needed the money. The account Manager answered the phone, and told me he already had my signed application and all of my personal information (how he got it, I don't know....I never applied with that Company before) and my $5,000 was all set to direct deposit into my checking account. But BEFORE this could be done, he needed to deposit an amount (from $2,000-$5,000) into my verify it was in fact me and my account, I needed to first send back that amount to him and ONLY then would he deposit my $5,000. I don't know why I wasn't suspicious at this point! Next thing my bank calls me and says, Did you loose your debit card? I say, No. They then ask, Well you did call us at 8:30 this morning to file a claim for $2,300 to reverse out payments made to your creditors back to May of 2014, didn't you? I said a firm "NO, it CERTAINLY wasn't me!" The bank then told me that the caller pretended to be me...verified all personal information about me. So I rushed to the bank to undo this. The Bank immediatly cancelled my accounts. I filed a report with the FTC, and an Identity Fraud alert at the Credit Breaus. I have all the information, and I want this guy prosecuted! Get this, my phone rang (cell) while I was at the bank. It was Logan from Cash Express. He said, Connie we deposited $2,300 to your bank account and we need you to send us back that money right away. hahaha! told him I was at the BANK now and he did NOT make any DEPOSIT to my account, and I informed him of what he DID do to my account. There was a brief pause, then he said, OK Connie, have a nice day, and he hung up! lol Well, I thought that was the end of that. I was wrong. I got a voice mail today (january 26, 2015) from Logan at Cash Express telling me that he was going to be filing a lawsuit against me. The reason? I defaulted on a signed loan agreement. hahaha, he is funny!

I have dealt with ACS before and I sent them a very nasty email using a few choice words and they responded with they have young family members reading some of their emails and requested that I not use such foul language when responding. I told them that if they keep sending me these bogus threats of arrest in emails, then I will keep responding the way that I do. I haven't heard from them since.

I've been getting calls from a "Mr. Collins" who says he's a process server for a company called McKindley Mediation Group, and he is looking for a certain person. He gives the name of the person, but that person is unknown to me. Mr. Collins's phone calls use Anonymous caller, so his number doesn't show up on the Caller ID. If I don't recognize the number, I don't answer and let it go to voice mail. He has threatened to come to my employer to serve these processes - I'm retired, haha - and to come to my residence. I have notified the local police and county sheriff of this person's calls. I did call the number that he left on the voice mail and requested that they leave me alone. Interestingly enough, I called that number three times and got three different people....definitely a scam.

They WONT help u however if your bill is not protected under the FDCPA. I have been dealing with abuse but because its a business debt (albeit a small one of 100 dollars) no one can help me. REALLY SAD there are no federal regulations to protect me on this.

I have been contacted by a collection agency that is trying to get in touch with my father. My father and I share this same first name (ie. sr. vs. jr.). Because of this, this is not the first time that I get his collection notices. But this last collector is now trying to collect from me for his debt. They have actually threatened to go after the rest of our family. They are using privileged information as a tool to intimidate, even going so far as looking into my PERSONAL files - THIS IS NOT EVEN MY DEBT! Isn't it illegal to look into someone's records when the collection notice belongs to someone else?

Debt collectors may not misrepresent the truth, including threatening legal action that is illegal or that they do not intend to take. For more information, please see the FTC publication, Debt Collection. I also would encourage you to file a complaint with the FTC.

I have q neice who is only a few months out of cancer treatment and not back to work yet and have a collection agency calling her threatening her numerous times a day telling her there and take her to court refusing a reasonable payment amount asking for hundreds of dollars in Illinois can they take you to court if you're making steady payments on hospital bills and is this woman allowed to call her repeatedly all day long and verbally harassed her and threatened her

People have legal rights when they deal with debt collectors. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act bans debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you.

A debt collector can't call before 8 am or after 9 pm. A collector can't use the phone repeatedly to harass someone, or say you'll get arrested if you don't pay your debt. You can report a debt collector to your state Attorney General’s office.

If you don't pay a debt, a debt collector could sue you to collect. If a debt collector does file a lawsuit against you, you will get documents. Respond to the legal documents yourself, or through your lawyer. Your state might have a legal aid office that can help you. Check the date stated in the documents and respond on time to protect your rights.

I recently received a call from a debt collector for a business debt we do owe and this guy was arrogant and rude and hung up on me 3 times! He made threats that the Sheriff would be at my door soon to liquidate the company. He wouldn't accept anything for payment except payment in full by check by phone or credit card and so I decided to call the original creditor, which this guy told me they wouldn't talk to me. They said first of all that they would NOT authorize liquidating our company, and to call him back and tell him what I could do and make payment arrangements. Well the guy was still arrogant and rude and refused to even discuss anything and hung up on me again, telling me I didn't know what I was talking about or what they could do. I called the original creditor back and explained how I was treated and she and I agreed on a payment plan and she sent it to the collection agency. The rude guy had said they didn't need the creditors permission to do anything and said I didn't know what I was talking about at one point but they had to honor that repayment agreement.

I got a call from another guy at the same collection agency after they emailed me the settlement paper, which had no breakdown of charges, and he was a lot nicer but still talked as if I wasn't going to pay. And I asked him to send me a detailed statement of the charges which was over $1000 more than I owed, and at first he said he would send it to me in the mail, then he called back and said I had the settlement paper which had the total amount and that was all I was going to get, they were not going to send me anything! Except for phone calls and the settlement agreement that the original creditor and I had agreed on, I have not received one thing from these hateful people! I said I thought they HAD to send me a detailed statement and he said no but he would tell me over the phone what it was, and it included a hefty fee for their services! Even as a business debt isn't at least some of this illegal to do? I will pay what I owe, but I don't want to be treated like this! I was so stressed I had chest pains and told my family if I had a heart attack to sue those people! Had their phone number and web info I looked up on my phone ready.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act doesn't apply to debt collectors' actions when they are collecting debts you incurred to run a business. You can contact your state Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies to report your experience with the debt collector, and tell your creditor about the debt collector's comments.

When I contacted our Attorney General's office
they they told me that people who use high pressure scare tactics are most likely scams. There really should be something in place to at least make the business collections fair in being able to dispute part or all of a debt and to at least be able to get a statement of the charges they say a business has to pay. I will be back in contact with my Attorney General's office as well as file a complaint with the BBB. I will also contact the company we still do business with and spend a lot more money on a yearly basis there than we owe them. Well, we use to. After this I'm strongly considering finding another supplier!

I forgot to add on my last comment that the collection agency first caller said they would combine all businesses and liquidate all of them?? There was only one business involved in the debt. He was definitely using the scam practice of high pressure to get paid immediately, he asked 3 times in one minute would I like to pay by check by phone or credit card and immediately after the 3rd time said I was stalling and he asked me 3 times so he was proceeding with liquidation and that more charges would be added on. I said wait a minute and he said I refused to cooperate. He hung up on me.

I someone from in house processing law firm called me Said I had taken a loan out from cash America and they were sueing ... when I started asking questions they hung up on me then turned around and started calling family members

Yes I have the same people harassing me but I have a lawyer now and he wants to put away these people too really bad. They are in violation of at least 5 if not more of the fair debt collections act if not more.

Same here. They called, had ALL of my information and I got sucked in. Paid $150 and the rest autopay. Once I got off the phone things weren't adding up with me. In House Processing Law Firm and they also mentioned the National Information Center. Had to google it all and came across this. I called back the number my "case worker" Eric Williams gave me. It was a cell phone. So I ended up calling the main number back 617-932-0259. Transferred me to my case worker where I asked him for validation. He told me my case is past the validation point and is in the process of being filed with my county courthouse. I asked for a phone number (at this point I was filling out the FTC complaint) and told him I wanted a refund. He refused to give his address (while raising his voice) and transferred me to his supervisor. She gets on the phone, already has attitude and is raising her voice. I asked for her address, they diverted my question and said she'll give me a refund but cops will show up at my house and to my place of work to arrest me in 5 days. I told her that's fine, but I needed validation AND an address. She said good luck and hung up. I tried calling several times after that where they would hang up and IF I was able to speak with someone they would hang up after I would ask for the address. Once I stopped calling they started calling me from different numbers (000) 000-0000 and even a private number to yell and say I was being arrested and and sued in court, etc. I'm calling my bank, opening a different account and closing the one I gave my credit card information for, even though they did refund me, the fact of knowing they have my information is terrifying.

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