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Stand up to fake debt collectors

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The caller is irate, intimidating and — despite the foul language — sounds convincing. He says you must make good on a payday loan or your wages will be garnished. If you applied for a payday loan before, you might start questioning your memory: “Did I miss a payment? The caller has my information, so this must be legit…”

The last thing you need is a short paycheck — especially if you’re already in a bind. So you pay. Thing is, you don’t owe them a dime. It’s a scam.

The FTC’s and the Illinois Attorney General’s complaint against K.I.P., LLC, Charles Dickey and Chantelle Dickey is the latest effort to stop scammers from trying to collect fake debts from consumers. According to the complaint, callers threatened to garnish wages, and they offered to accept, or “settle the debt,” for significantly less than the amount allegedly owed.  In addition, the caller didn’t give the person any proof of the debt — even when asked. But the calls were so convincing that many consumers actually made payments — even though they didn’t owe.

Here are a few tips for standing up to these scammers:

  • 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. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires any debt collector to stop calling if you ask in writing. Of course, if the debt is real, sending such a letter does not get rid of the debt, but it should stop the contact.
  • Don’t give or confirm any personal, financial, or other sensitive information.
  • Contact your creditor.  If a debt is legitimate – but you think the collector isn’t — contact the company to which you owe the money.  
  • Report the call. File a complaint with the FTC and your state Attorney General's office with information about suspicious callers.

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

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


this is great information. I'm an ADA retiree since 2009,and debt collectors have been harassing me for more than 10 years...just ignore them.....

I had a 15 yr mortgage, the company changed names several times, and i contacted them 6 yrs ago when my balance due was more than my last payment due. Was told it . 4,000 was a computer. Glitch . Well, Ditech took ovèr October month of my last pmt and will not send my mobile home title or proof of the debt yet I get calls from various numbers who I request written varification to no avail. Who can I contact?

You get a mortgage from a lender, but often you send the payments to a mortgage servicer (not the lender). If you have a mortgage servicer, you contact them with questions about your mortgage loan account.

Under federal law, your mortgage servicer must respond promptly to your written inquiries, which are called “qualified written requests.” The FTC article about making payments to your mortgage servicer has much more information.

You can report a complaint about your mortgage to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Go to the CFPB complaints page. The CFPB will send your complaint to the mortgage company, and the company will respond to the CFPB and you.

A debt collector been harrassing me for almost seven years and when I tell my family no one believes me. I cannot believe that people has gone bunkers over money. Are they still calling you?

Same here since 2014. They stop for awhile then start again every year

Almost everything is a scam, and they send phony 'legal' letters, with phony case numbers, demanding you call them at a toll free number within a certain number of days, or else. They have an address and suite number in Yorba Linda, Calif., and have even claimed to be police, and sheriffs. They also claim to be attorneys, and legal advisors/assistants. They end their letters with "Govern Yourself Accordingly," just like the phony IRS. A man with an Indian accent was impersonating the phony IRS. Also, a caucasian sounding but.

These scammers called every one of my family members except me. They said they were from the warrant and summons decision and I was involved in check fraud. SCAM! I've gotten so many scam calls I can identify them almost emediately. First thing is if the person has an Indian accent but says his name is Joe Smith or something like that. That's a dead give away right there. If they ask for payment through western union or something similar it's a scam. If they say you won money but you have to pay them something before you can get your winnings it's a scam. If they say they are from any government agency and they want you to pay them emediately or you will be arrested or wages garnished it's a scam. If you haven't gotten written notice first from these government agencies then it's more than likely a scam. Don't ever give them personal information or payments over the phone.

We got a call today we thought from our daughters cell in arizona. Turned out, they claimed they were a debt collector trying to collect a debt for Sanford. Thing is, we already paid that debt. How is it they can use our daughters phone to contact us. We told her to send us the bill in the mail and wed dispute it. She didnt want to. Kept saying she was trying to help us. If your a collector for Sanford use your own damn number instead of our daughters...that got me mad.

How do you keep them from contacting relatives. It is bad enough they call and threaten me, but they now are calling anyone associated with me. My siblings, parents, nieces and nephews. Not sure how they are getting their numbers, but it is harassment.

If an attorney is representing you about the debt, the debt collector must contact the attorney, rather than you. If you don’t have an attorney, a collector may contact other people – but only to find out your address, your home phone number, and where you work. Collectors usually are prohibited from contacting third parties more than once. Other than to obtain this location information about you, a debt collector generally is not permitted to discuss your debt with anyone other than you, your spouse, or your attorney. For more information,  see  Debt Collection..

we have had the same thing happening lately. They have gone so far as to contact my EX HUSBAND'S family from 28 years ago!!! We have no idea who they are or what they want. A gentleman I did speak with when answering the phone informed me he was a "processor" and I needed to call another 800 number. I did just that, and with the file number he supplied me, wasn't even us! Haven't heard from them lately but now are receiving calls stating we our loan that we applied for online has been approved. Funny thing... we never applied for one!! What crooks out there!!!

Tell the relatives to request they do not call anymore. Only when they request the calls to end iOS it considered harassment when the Harrasser calls.

They contacted my brother who is in the military. When I files my complaint they asked for an ideal resolution. I said no more phone calls to me or my family.

I actually got an email from someone saying I owed money for something that didn't make sense. This was an email instead of a phone call. Anyone else experiencing emails as well?

I recently called NCAM when I got three threatening emails (gmail). I was told that it was a scammer, collections are not made via an open email! I am saving them,seems I get another every other week. They have my last 4 digits of my ss # which worries me, never encured the debt they claim I owe!

I've experienced e-mails requesting money for a payday loan way back and I never even had a checking account or an income at the time still don't. Hes wrote three times and never even told me who I took the loan out from and said an arrest warrant will be issued. garnishwages. Never mailed me no information about the loan just keeps e-mailing

Fyi, who claims an arrest warrant will be issued is not a creditor. Arrest warrents cannot be issued for an unreaolved debt.

Same here, they have contacted my ex-husband's wife, stating "they" were the FBI and looking for me!!!! You can imagine the ripple effect this had on my family, I told them to come to this site and see all the ways these fraudsters try to scam you. I have attached below an e-mail I received yesterday. Look at all the words spelled wrong along with the poor grammar!!!! I am saving and then putting it to "PHISHING SCAM!!!!" These people are NUTS to say the least. I also had the scam where the computer locks up and says I have a virus. Fell for that one, but no more, will always be vigilant now.

LAWSUIT RC Robert Clark Reply | Thu 5/4, 9:31 AM You     CREDITORE : SPEEDY CASH SERVICE   CASE NO: ME/2601699 ATTENTION: MARY K, Respective Debtor, Despite our previous reminder, we still have not received any payment or answer from you. Therefore, we regret to inform you that if we do not obtain the payment of $841.52 in full before today we will have no other alternatives but to undertake court actions against you in order to retrieve the debt amount for our company.    As we were unable to reach you so we are sending you this final notification through email. This legal matter will require your cooperation, so kindly get in touch with the department to make a payment and freeze down this case.    Should your payment not be received in full today, immediate court actions will take place.  Consider this as a final warning. And we will be Emailing/ Fax this issue to your current employer to make sure they take strict actions against you. Your salary and all your wages confiscated.   And we apologies that this notification will also sent to your current employer. The opportunity to take care of this voluntary is quickly coming to an end. We would hate for you to lose the option of resolving this before it goes to the next step which is a Lawsuit against you, but to do so you must take immediate action.   We would advise to treat this matter with urgency and we believe you will not ignore this final reminder. To save yourself the inconvenience of court actions, we kindly suggest settling the total amount of debt and additional costs as soon as possible. We still trust court actions will not be necessary and look forward to receiving payment by return   IF YOU WANT TO RESOLVE CASE OUTSIDE OF COURT THEN CONTACT TO SETTLEMENT DEPARTMENT :-mailto: mariawatson  089    Sincerely, Settlement Department Mike Wilson

This letter is chock full of typos, mis-spelled words and improper diction, simply put it was written by somebody who's trying to impersonate a professional. Most of the things that they threaten to do are completely illegal. I would suggest if anyone has any issues with these people to call their local attorney general. The Attorney General's office of your state can give you information as to whether or not what you've received is valid and whether or not what they said is legal. I would check with them even if you think it might be legitimate because a lot of these companies are predatory some of them are completely illegal operations another good question to ask is if they've got a license to do business in your state I believe your local Department of Commerce would know that. I'm of the belief that if someone doesn't have a license to do business in your state that they CAN'T
legally do business in your state which means they can't get ahold of you for any business reasons, debt or otherwise.

How about this; Sunday night at 8:30 I get a check saying to have a check read within 7 days. They used my first name which a business Never does, they said to text go fro details, and for a laugh, I did. No details, I did call them a t 6 in the morning and there was no mailbox set up. I called the FTC and reported them. Pretty strange!

They are calling my landlord, family members and anybody else, they don't identify who they are, just call everyday

Great advice, thank you. I have asked Portfolio Recovery to stop calling my work so they now call my cell phone that I use for work, I told them to stop calling me during my work hours on my cell phone from 6:30am to 5:30 pm and they still call stating that they are with in the law because they are not calling my work. I replied well you are because my cell is used during work hours for customers to call regarding their cars while I am away from my desk. All my calls are transferred to my cell.. so the next time all I have to do is ask their name and address and write...

Portfolio Recovery LLC, 120 Corporate Blvd, Norfolk VA 23502 phone: 1-800-772-1413 or 1-757-519-9300. This is from Pra Group website:

Portfolio Recovery Associates appears to be a scam, not a real debt collector. They called me many times even though I had no debt. They don't stop calling until you file complaints against them. It makes no sense for a real debt collector to repeatedly call wrong numbers, after they have been told that they are calling a wrong number. Only a scammer would be doing that. A real debt collector would know that that kind of behavior opens them up to costly lawsuits and criminal charges.

I would like to have debt collectors laws for local. city, county, state of Nevada and federal laws and statues...Please forward me those links to these laws as soon as possible. Thank you!

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 . 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.  These FTC articles tell more about your rights when it comes to debt collectors.

I have this collection agency harassing me and have been for years. They say I have a debt and when I ask for a date it's always different b/c I have my bank statements. They have sent arrest warrants over email,. I have contacted FTC, Attorney Generals office, and FDCPA and gotten nothing.

I unlisted my number and they stopped.

Is LLC in Illinois the same company as CC LLC in Florida? Florida phone No. 813-438-4239. They called and asked personal info about my husband, which I did not give. Soc Sec # and birth date. They keep calling from time to time but I don't bother to answer.

Good article I have been called recently telling me they are going to arrest me, they are having a judge collect etc. etc. They then called work ! I am afraid to answer only because even though I know they are performing illegal activity just don't have the energy

I have been having the very same call saying they will be filing charges against me for an online loan they say I received. I have never even filed for an online loan of any kind. If you get some good advice for this, please post.

Learn more about protecting yourself in this FTC article about fake debt collectors

When they call me, they even have the last 4 of my bank account and my ssn? I am so stressed out. did you ever hear anything back on this?

I have that same problem. Several callers have the last four of my ssn and last four of my bank account and my bank name. I know it's a scam but this really stresses me out. I'm so fed up with this crap.

I am a peaceful innocent man with great respect for the international committee and their laws. God bless you all. Mohamme

I have had collectors give me different amounts harass family members and me. I have had them threaten too. I do not trust any and refused. They still never did send me my amounts despite they had my address. They are liars.

I owe so much money, it's hard to keep up lol... But I wonder if anyone has pulled these people into a lawsuit and have won? That must be friggin' annoying to have these people harass you, but not get any reparations for it.

dear imsotired - as one who works in the legal field - the answer your question is yes - people have taken these morons to court and won - sometimes pretty decent settlements - but you have to be willing to put in the time and effort that this requires - and you have to make sure that you document, document, document -phone calls (dates, times, numbers they called from, times of day , number of times they called, number of times and dates you told them to quit calling - you get my drift. I once had collectors calling my home about a debt my ex daughter-in-law owed... they called twice - I gave them the dates and times that they had called me before - (with each call telling them to never call again - at the second call - I told them three strikes and they were out - and that I would sue - and that I would win. They never called me again, darn it! LOL!

How would you sue an overseas fake and threatening debt collector here in the U.S? Make them stop calling for a loan I never had, calling my family, home and work, we never answer the phone because the phone number is not recognized, but they leave threatening messages

If you’re getting repeated calls from the same number, your phone company may be able to block that number, but first ask whether there’s a fee for this service. 

If you’re getting unwanted calls from a lot of different numbers, look into a call blocking solution. There are online call blocking services, call blocking boxes, and smartphone apps that block unwanted calls. Do an online search to look for reviews from experts and other users, and find out whether the service costs money.

I cancelled my T-Mobile within the 14 day cancellation period and they still insisted I owed them money. I said "send me a corrected bill for the 5 days service" a month it was like 59.99 they claimed I owe for cancellation 269.00+ and I told them they were not correct. They put it on my credit report but they can't touch my money because I am on disability and they can't take that. HOWEVER I am thinking of suing them for continuing to put it on my credit report. I sent them a copy of the TOS for that year, to prove I had 14 days to cancel, and I haven't heard back at all from them. If I do, I will sue THEM for harassing me for something they are NOT entitled to

This article explains how to dispute errors on your credit reports. Under the FCRA, both the credit reporting company and the information provider (the company that provided information about you to a credit reporting company) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report.

Do they have the right to collect money upfront before giving you a loan?

Read about warning signs of Advance-Fee Loans. For example, if a lender wants payment before giving you a loan, that's a sign to walk away, especially if they say it's for “insurance,” “processing,” or just “paperwork.”

Also, it's illegal for a company doing business by phone in the U.S. to promise you a loan and ask you to pay for it before they deliver.

Why would they have the right to collect money upfront if they have not given you any money to begin with?

We consumers find our protections in the FDCPA 15 USC 1692 along with our private right to sue them for violations, a quick internet search can lead you to your protections, it is only 14 pages covering things you didn't know were violations and injuries.

This FTC article has information about your rights when you're dealing with debt collectors.

About a week ago someone going by the name of "Sterling" called me about some kind of pain cream. He said he was calling from a company named "Elite Enterprises." He asked for an insurance ID number. Has anyone else received this type of call? Is this another scam?

The owner of this company has almost 500 sex, drugs, dating, and gambling sites. Lately, there have been multiple complaints about his companies using a service to send collection letters to people who have never ordered, received, or even heard about whatever it is they are claiming they are owed for. The "very helpful" FTC replied to my complaint with a link to a generic article about protecting my identity. I KNOW ALL THAT STUFF! What we need is someone to tell these idiots that they need to stop sending completely baseless bills, with the threat of destroying our credit, in the hope that some percentage of them will send them the money just to avoid the potential problems. NOT VERY HELPFUL FTC! How about some help here.

5/28/15- supposed debt collector calling from 623-748-7095 got me for my ssan-i told em you'll be a mess if you use


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