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


Do your research online. Google the company for their address. Try not to answer the phone so the statute of limitations are not renewed. Money owed has expiration dates of collection. Put everything in writing. Form letters are available to use for these collection agencies. If it gets bad, see a credit counselor. Some charge very little.

Ignoring it doesn't make it go away, and it can effect your credit rating. Understand that people from legit collections agencies are just doing their job as well and they contact hundreds of people everyday and have to deal with being yelled at, cussed at, and treated poorly.

The best thing to do is try to work out something with them, the earlier you do so the more willing they are to assist. That being said, if someone is not following the FDCPA you should report it.

Spoken like a true bottom feeder...

I apologize you feel that way, however there is a need for collections agent in order to recoup money when it is not paid. In the interest of full disclosure I was once upon a time a collections agent. I do not do that work anymore as I did get tired of being yelled at on a daily basis.

I still stand by my statement that ignoring a legitmite debt that the original post I replied to suggested is the worst idea. All my points are based in fact and personal experience as a collections agent. You may not like the idea of the collections agent, however they do exist to fill a need.

In Florida the statute of limitations starts with your last payment date and not last phone call.
Creditors have 4 years to collect your debt with no signed written contract and 5 years with a signed written contract. Also in Florida, if the state of the creditor or debt collector has less time for statute of limitation the lesser limit is upheld in Florida court, but not the greater time limit.

You are half right. Even though the statute of limitations runs out, if you acknowledge to a collection agent that you do owe money to the particular creditor they are talking about, or you pay part of the bill, the timer can restart. Plus, debt collectors can still call you after the statute of limitations runs out, they just can't sue you.

The FTC article about time-barred debts has more information.

Remember that the statute of limitations varies from state to state and for different kinds of debts.

To find out what the statute of limitations on different kinds of debts is in your state, check with a legal aid lawyer, another attorney, or your State Attorney General's Office.

I actually paid $95.00 because I was so scared and intimadated. I paid a settlement to Providian National Bank in 1999. Can the timer for them to sue me start again even if I have a money order proving I paid the same debt they screwed me out of almost $100? Thank you.

If you have fully paid off a debt, you don't have the debt any more. A legitimate collector should not contact you about a debt that is fully paid off.

If you have questions about old debts that weren't paid off, read this FTC article about Time-Barred Debts.

I just had a phone call from number 1800-688-1916 pretending to be BG&E. They told me they were going to shut off my electric in a half an hour. I was to go get a prepaid card to pay the bill. It was a scam!! Alert everyone so that they do succeed!!

I received a call from (310) 929-5644. I did not answer the call and listened to my voice-mail. It was an automated system. The message stated: "This is Internal Revenue Service trying to reach you for your back tax that you owe to IRS...this matter has been taken to federal court and lawsuit has been filed, so call us back at (310) 929-5644, I repeat, ....". I contacted the FTC immediately.

With the scam IRS call, you should also report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration or TIGTA. They are the agency investigating this scam.

I am receiving phone calls on my cell phone from the same people ALL DAY/NIGHT different area codes and numbers but the same song and dance EVERY TIME!! I use my cell for work, and I am a Leasing Agent so of course I never know if it is someone interested in a property. They threaten me, say I owe money to places I have never heard of, tell me that I am receiving a Grant I applied for or that I have won a settlement for a drug I have never taken. THEY ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY! I cannot turn my phone off at night, as I have two daughters that are 8 1/2 and 7 months pregnant, if there were an get the picture. I have registered with the FTC, but the battle continues. I live in WA state...someone please HELP!! I need some advice. Thank You.

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. When you get illegal sales calls or robocalls, it's best to ignore them. 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.

Today I was at work and got a call from an 844 area trying to collect a debt. They said if I don't pay, they will send warrants for my arrest to the clerks office. They said I need to pay this payday loan debt in full or they will send the papers. I was shocked and scared because I don't remember taking out a loan in 2011, I also told them I filed ch 7 in 2013 and they told me I should have read the fine print because this loan could not be involved in any future bankruptcy. So that scared me and they said you need to pay or will send a warrant for your arrest. So scared and shocked I said I can't afford the full amount, they said we will knock of 20% if we sent a auto pay for full in 45 days. So shocked and scared I gave my credit number and set a payment date. Did I get scammed?! They were claiming to be nationwide recovery association and they were calling me on behalf of their client Titan LLC...PLEASE HELP!! Is this a scam?

Yes, it is.

its a scam i had that happen to me before and i paid like a dummy now the calls dont stop but i filed chapter 7 and it does cover it i was told by my lawyer its a scam they are trolling through old bankruptcys files to scare people out of money def call your attorney but it sounds like a scam to me and yes it can be in a bankruptcy! i hate people like that jerks

Oh yeah, you were definitely scammed. Also, they can't tell you that they're exempt from any future bankruptcy proceedings...if that was the case, wouldn't ALL creditors state that in their "fine print"????

omg, yes you did!!! Call your credit card company and tell them to not pay that! First of all, they CANNOT arrest you for a bad loan. There are no debter's prisons in this country. Secondly, PayDay loans are illegal in a lot of states and 3rdly, there's no way you couldn't put it on a bancruptcy.I believe only income taxes are exempt from bankruptcy.

Read about what to know if you're filing for bankruptcy.

I worked for a debt collection agency in Jacksonville fl like this.They did what's known as phantom debt collections.They claim to be investigators/paralegals working with the FDIC, a lawfirm...usually by generic names or even as far as working with the feds.Ive even heard state attorney office mengioned.from there they call u.Your job your family members.your neighbors trying to track you down to get a "statement from you or your attorney regarding the 2 pending felony warrants" from there they tell u that you have something having to do with soliciting a worthless item of commerce.the other is malicious intent to defraud a federal mandated banking institution.... From there they speak with usually the state to see if they're willing to do out of state restitution.... The worst part is they're calling for these payday loans or rental furniture (like Aarons for example)and say your debt is only $405.89 well they're gonna say you owe $1738.42.Unbelievable.... And if u don't pay it by the end of day we are gonna turn it over to the state and warrants will be active....we will pick u up at your residence or children services...if we find out your on probation we will even call your probation officer.This man is an evil crook and needs stopped.the worst part is on top of having his employees doing this illegal stuff for him he screws them on their pay and shorts them.He was giving $300 a week salary(less then minimum wage-under the table)then he did away with it and made it all commission. If my boss felt it gets too hot he will change the numbers(most are based out of Texas.Mine was Houston for instance) If you ask for an address they give u some phoney po. Box and say its a private law firm that doesn't solicit their office because of the types of criminal cases they deal with cause their safety.If you say not to call them under the fair debt collection act they'll tell you that doesn't apply to them.

This, what you described, former debt collector, is exactly what I have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with 3 days ago. Scared me half to death. They said they were calling from a lawfirm. They were paralegals and put me in touch with some attorney who states that I have 2 pending charges for theft and something else from aarons. They give me the date and charge for it. Then he wanted a statement from me or my lawyer. States he thought i was aware of this. I ask him what I can do to resolve this and he states "hold on I will call the prosecuting attorney and see if they will do anything". He comes back and says they will accept $1042 and it needs to be paid by end of business day. Transfers me to ers processing who now wants to give me steps to pay it via moneygram. Then I say I can't pay by the end of the day and I'll see if I can cut it in half and will arrange 2 payments in a week. They are suddenly ok with it. This totally scares me. I called arrons and they did charge my account to some collection agency and I called them left a message but no reply yet. Moneygram says the receive code matches ers processing. I have no idea if this is real and it has me scared half to death!

If you ask a legitimate debt collector for proof of the debt, he has to give you written proof of the debt. That's a verification of the debt. The law requires a debt collector to do that. 

It's against the law for a company to not give you proof of the debt, or to tell other people, including your family members, friends, and employers, about the debts. Debt collectors also can't lie, and can't say they are lawyers if they really aren't.

This FTC article about Debt Collection has information about your rights.

This is SCAM. I was called and told the same thing. I told him him to send a warrent for my arrest.
Then I called him back and told him I would meet him at the sheriffs office. Needless to say, they never showed up.

Just did that today to Goldberg Stein Assoc field office. Told her what the sheriffs office was just outside the court house....she didn't like it though when after telling her she has the wrong person to never call I called back 3x. Told her to call the police....

Today I was at work and got a call from an 844 area trying to collect a debt. They said if I don't pay, they will send warrants for my arrest to the clerks office. They said I need to pay this payday loan debt in full or they will send the papers. I was shocked and scared because I don't remember taking out a loan in 2011

The person who called might be a fake debt collector. This FTC article explains what fake debt collectors do, and has tips on how to deal with them.

The caller could be a fake debt collector. He did a lot of things that fake debt collectors do.  First, he told you to pay for a debt you don't recognize. Second, he pressured you and tried to scare you by threatening to have you arrested or to report you to a law enforcement agency. Third, he asked for your bank account number. 

Call your state Attorney General to find out your rights. Tell them the name of the company that called, and what the caller said to you.  If you are worried that the caller might take money from your bank account, contact your bank right away.

I received a call from an unknown number and did not answer. Person said his name was richard price and he was going to serve me at home or work. Called 855-870-4671 that he left. The people did not state the company name and would not give me any information on the company. She did not give me her name either. When I kept asking for the name of the company I was told "I'm not the one going to court so I don't have to give you our name" so I hung up

I've received calls from Richard Price from a restricted, as well. Didn't answer either call. In his message he states that he has received my name and SSN and has been asked to serve me papers. Says if I have any questions in regards to the matter to call the Plaintiff at 844-881-6067 and gives a case number to refer to. Says if he doesn't hear from the Plaintiff that I have contacted them that he will proceed with the process and be at either my home or work the following day between 12p-5p to serve me and to make sure I'm available for his visit. 1st off, process servers to call and give you a heads up that they're coming. They just show up and serve you. Secondly, I haven't been involved in any matter that would result in any type of court proceedings. With this, after the 1st call I knew it was a scam. Not to mention about a month ago I received a couple of calls, also restricted numbers, voice on the message sounded very similar to Mr. Prices saying he received my information and had been instructed to contact my employer to initiate wage garnishments unless I called someone. Now those I immediately knew were scams so I didn't even bother to finish listening to the messages. But with the little information given in the last couple of messages I did a little digging. I called 844-881-6xxx and the person who answered, voice sounding VERY similar to the one on the voice mail, simply answered, "Claims Department". No company name or anything. So I hung up. I then did a search of the phone number and found that it is listed to an address in a residential neighborhood. TOTAL SCAM!!!

These are useful details for a complaint.

Please report this to the FTC at The information you give goes into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

I received this same call form the same guy with a different phone number 855-201-8323 called and they answered with claims dept and no company, I hung up as well....good information.....thanks

I have been getting the same calls from the area code 844. I have blocked their number several times but have noticed that they are starting to use other numbers which still have the 844 area code. Today I received a call from 844-202-1613. So over it! I know this is a scam because they were very unprofessional when I spoke to them a month or so ago. They are calling my mom's cell phone as well. I'm on a mission to get this stopped once and for all. Any advice anyone may have on here will be helpful!

I have reported this number several times. It is really annoying.

I recieved a voicemail today from a "proceed server in Cook County (I'm from Chicago, but live in Florida) The said his courier had tried to serve me yesterday but had failed. He then went on to say that they would be serving me tomorrow between 12-3pm at my home or work. He then stated if I wanted more information or if I wanted to arrange for meetup elsewhere it was in my legal rights to do so. He then gave me an 844 area code number to a bogus law firm that doesn't exist to call to make said arrangements. Well after googling 844 numbers it's quite apparent this is a scam.

I received a call from 5109643827, stating they were a process server & I was being sued. She asked me had I received a letter in the mail about the debt. I told her no. She gave me a phone number to call about the debt 844-309-3853 and the same woman answered the phone...but I didn't make a comment about it...she stated that I had a unpaid bill with Master Card...I told her I never had a master card...she already knew the last 4 digit of my SS#....she told I needed proof that I didn't owe the debt & she gave me a fax #347-514-991l to sent the proof...I realize later that she never stated the name of the company or her name...I called back to get the information and she was hesitant but she gave Kaylan Walker as her name and the company was New York Group...I tried to find the name of the company on the web & no such company...but I researched the 844 number and this is the prefix for phone scamming...I call them back and balled them out...

Recvd call from RMS.. number shows Columbus Ohio.but cant find in directory..stating i owe $1500 to a DJR payday loan company..i do not remember ever taking this out in 2011. Says to pay at least 500 to stop process or i will go to civil court. I do believe its a scam but have no proof. They have called family members even after told to stop

Receiving calls from 866-608-7665 every morning same time, left msg on my machine could barely understand the woman said was with VanRu agency and to call about a debt. Did not call back, we have no debt to anyone at this time.

My family and 2 co-workers received a call from a "locator company" for Bayview stating that I was being served legal papers for a fraudulent check. Interestingly, they didn't call me. I called Bayview and spoke with a Nathan Howard (855) 850-0348 ext. 435. He told me that they were going to proceed with legal action against me for an unpaid payday loan from Castle Payday. I do not recall obtaining a payday loan from Castle Payday. I then asked for a validation of debt letter. He told me that he can not send me anything in writing until after I pay them. He then told me that I can verify the debt with Castle. Rewind back... My wallet was stolen in September 2014. I called Castle Payday, and there was a loan in my name, but the person says that it sold the debt and to call another company. At this point, I'm thinking my stolen wallet is coming back to haunt me. I called Nathan Howard back at Bayview the next day and told him that I could not verify the debt and that he needed to send me a validation of debt letter. He got indignant, called me a liar and told me that he was going to contact the partners at my law firm and tell them that I'm committing fraud. I told him to go right a head and do that... He then hung up on me. LOL... I called Bayview back to get their address, and was immediately put on hold. I woman got on the line and asked me why I needed their address. I told her because I want to send a cease and desist demand for them to stop calling me, my family and co-workers. She refused to give me the address, fax number or email address. I told her that I was going to file a complaint with my state attorney general's office and she told me to go right a head and do it. After that call, one of my co-workers was called again to locate me. So, I filed a complaint with the AG, the FTC and the CFPB. Scammers.... They are the scum of the earth!

I got a call from Nathan Howard today and it was the same thing! He said I took a payday loan from a company I never heard of and didn't pay it back. I did have payday loans and did pay them all back. This guy had all my info and threatened me in several calls that he would call all these people at my law firm. They must like people that work for law firms since you do too. Process servers and collection agencies don't handle people like this anyway. They don't call you before they serve you. This guy is such a scammer and I don't think he's giving up but I'm not answering his calls anymore.

I got a similar call except the woman called herself Denise Howard and they told me they,had already file felony charges and that they would push for 180 day imprisonment if I did to pay it in full. When I asked for the Info to be mailed to me I was told that they don't do,any corrispondance except recipt for payment and a form letting u know charges where dropped. Scam much!

About a month and a half ago my mom was contacted about this payday loan I had supposedly gotten, the next day they called my work and I wasn't able to talk at the time. They called me when I got off work and said that I had got a payday loan in June 2013 or something and when they went to collect it at a bank here locally the account was closed. I have never had an account at the bank. I didn't confirm any of my details regarding SSN or anything. I called the number back that night and it was something totally different. They called me back the next morning saying they saw that I called overnight. Which I thought was suspicious. Told me I could settle or they would take me to court. I asked for some documentation but they said all of that would be provided in court. I told them to take me to court. Well today they called my work again saying they are going to serve me paper for court with an intent to pursue. This message was given to my boas. Gave her a number for me to call and they don't have a girl by that name working there. They said they had already sent the civil suit to the county I live in. But I looked at the search online and there was no active case in my name. I believe all this is just to scare me into paying.

I had the exact same thing happen to me yesterday. They even called my mother and ex-husband. Said I owed on a payday loan and had all my information. I searched the phone number online and got a private resident in Spring Lake, NJ. They said the same things to me, too. I think it is a scam.

I've been getting the same calls for the last two years! And they are calling my relatives & work! How can u get this to stop?

This FTC article has information 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 . 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.

A company called Kingston LLC phone number is 240-307-1496 or 240-394-6117 has called me twice regarding a payday loan I suspossedly took out back in October 2008. They had the last four digits of my social and old bank account, and claimed to have attached my drivers license. First off I don't drive, second off I never took a payday loan back in October 2008. We were just moving into a new apartment with my grandmother whom we were caring for, so I did not have use for something like that. I have looked them up online and found nothing. Did reverse phone look up as well and Nada. They gave me reference number 127465. Both individuals a lady and a man have strong foreign accents, West Indian, Nigerian not sure. You can barely understand them, this ticked me off right then as a possible scam. When I asked for him to send me something in writing if this judgement was so legit he got Kind of funny especially when I said if you have all of this info then you should have my address.

I had a very similar experience today. I was called at home, and on my cell from this number: 205-558-5852. First I received an automated voicemail stating that I have 2 complaints filed against me. When I called the number back, the woman said that I defaulted on a payday loan in 2009,and that they would rather settle out of court if possible. When I said that I didn't default on any loans, she became very intimidating and told me that the call was being recorded, and that they would play it back when they take me to court. It was scary how much information they had about me! I hung-up on her before she could finish trying to extort money from me.

Same thing happened to me today. I received a call from the same number you referenced, 205-558-5852. I also received a call from 217-666-9833 with the same message.

I had the same experience recently from the same phone numbers you mentioned plus a dozen more that they used. He had a thick Indian accent and said his name was Charles Smith - right. So anyway, they refused to give me their address claiming that I "might be a crazy person with a shotgun and gun them down." The business name they used was Global on one occasion and the other IDOT or ISOT. They have been reported to the Consumer Protection Bureau, FTC, MD State Attorney, Brian Frosh and They are obvious scammers.

In huge bind in 2012. Lost jobs, etc. Got loan for $11,000 from lender and payback is $444 monthly for 5 years. Company has changed name twice. How do I check the authenticity of this loan?


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