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Can debt collectors message you for money?

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It could start with an unexpected text message or email like this:


Hold on. The message is a lie. You don’t have payment arrangements with anyone. So who’s messaging you for money?

It could be a debt collector. But it’s illegal for them to send texts or emails that trick or harass you into contacting them so they can collect money. By law, debt collectors have to tell you who they are, no matter how they contact you.

Today, the FTC announced Messaging for Money, a sweep of law enforcement actions against three debt collection companies. According to the FTC, when these companies texted, emailed or called financially distressed people, they didn’t say that they were debt collectors. In some instances, they pretended to be attorneys or government agencies to trick and intimidate people into paying. These companies, say the FTC, also used abusive texts, emails and phone calls to falsely threaten people with lawsuits or arrest.

No matter how a debt collector communicates with you about a debt, they have to play by the rules. That’s the law. You have rights. If you think a debt collector has violated any of your rights, the FTC wants to hear about it.

For more information about managing your finances, check out Dealing with Debt, as well as Money & Credit.

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Money & Credit


I Cancelled a Internet business that I was not told what I would be doing. They want to charge me about 2 thousand. They say I can not cancel no refund policy with their company. Can they make me pay?

If you paid by credit card or gave them your credit card number, you can contact your credit card company to dispute the charge.

If someone offered you a job with an internet business and you think the promotion is a fraud, report it to the state Attorney General’s office in the state where you live and in the state where the company based. You should also file a complaint with the FTC online or call toll free 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

I've turned in so many complaints about Advance Cash Services, ACS, but it has gotten me nowhere. They have threaten to stop my retirement checks, SS Checks, freeze my bank accounts, have the big bad law arrest me with handcuffs, take me to court, sent copies of my arrest warrant, hold court without me being there and even sent court dates but no address to where they were. Now the FTC has decided to do something but I bet this company is not included!

If you think these are fake debt collectors, read Fake Debt Collectors for tips on how to handle these calls.

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 say they are lawyers if they aren't. You have the right to sue a collector in a state or federal court within one year from the date the law was violated. The FTC’ s article Debt Collection has information about your rights.

I was contacted by the U.S. government by phone that the credit card companies were charging too much interest and to go to a debt settlement compamy.I did and it was a scam.I paid $250.00 a month for 2 years to pay off Capital One. The debt settlement company kept my money and the USMAIL service closed them up.and froze the assets for Jackson Hunter Morris&Knight of California.I'm still waiting for the case to go to court since 2012.The company has since started another company.They have $5700.oo of my money

I am getting same type of email after I paid speeding ticket online. It looks genuine but found scam. So please be alert as they send with some court name.

I am so frustrated right now. I have written at least six letters to FTC about this agency called Advance Cash Services, ACS. I took several payday loans out right after I retired in June 2011 to get me through till my pension/SS kicked in. I borrowed $3500. To date I have paid back almost $5,000. Everytime I think that I have paid it off they find a new "loan". They have sent me threatening letters, copies of arrest warrants, court dates but not where, letters saying that they are taking me to court and I don't have to be there, called my part time job to tell them that I am being charged with fraud, freezing my bank account, stopping my SS, putting my SSN on hold, called my husband and told him I was going to be charged with check fraud, called my family/friends and told these same lies. They are using five(5) different emails with different names all under ASC. They emailed me last month to tell me I had one last "loan" to pay and I would be done. The amount I "owed" was $340. I was told that I could pay $170 the first of May and the 20th of May. I sent the money through a PayPal Load It Card the first of May and then again the 21st same payment and PayPal load it card. Now they say I didn't pay on the first so I have to pay $170 on the first of June. Now I get another email saying You are going to be charged in a couple days for payment of $995. It is a vicious cycle going on and on. I want this to stop but no one will help. How can some people get help but I can't? This is not good for my health and nerves. I just read where the FTC just came down on some people for the same thing that this company is doing to me. Does anybody read these complaints?

If you ask them in writing, the debt collector has to provide proof of the debt in writing. 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. You have the right to sue a collector in a state or federal court within one year from the date the law was violated. The FTC’ s article Debt Collection has information about your rights.

If you have old debts, collectors may not be able to sue you to collect on them. State law determines how long the debt collector has to sue you. Check with a legal aid lawyer, another attorney, or your State Attorney General's Office.

Report problems you have with a debt collector to the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

help me god bless you

Just received another threatening email about another debt that ACS, Advance Cash Services, has suddenly found. It is another total and still won't tell me who for the amount of loan or when this happened. All they say is it is with ACS who handle 500 loan companies. I am not paying another cent to this company, but it would of been nice to have someone back me up!!!

So many people don't know their rights when it comes to stuff like this. It's correct they have to tell you who they are, and they also have to respect that you ask them not to contact you at work. This article is really helpful, and I hope people can read it so they know when debt collection agencies have gone too far. Thanks for sharing.

ACS calls and harasses me regarding a student loan . . with Great Lakes Higher Education . . I contacted Great Lakes Higher Education ~ they did not turn my account over to any other loan company. ACS is FRAUDULENT!

You can report this to the FTC at The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations. You can also report to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

This morning while attending a funeral I received a call from a number I didn't know followed by a text message from the same number that said "Hi FirstName" (it actually had my first name in there). I was under the impression it was probably a family member looking for directions and I called them and it ended up being someone on a collections team. I thought the text was unusual. Were any rules broken or can they do that?

It is not illegal for a debt collector to send you a text.

It is illegal for a debt collector to not fully disclose who they are, or to make a harassing or deceptive attempt to collect money. For example, it’s against the law for debt collectors to pretend to be attorneys or falsely threaten to sue you, regardless of how they communicate — through texts, through letters, or through phone calls.

Specifically, what should a debt collector include in a text?

By law, debt collectors have to tell you who they are when they contact you, no matter how they contact you.

When debt collectors communicate with you about a debt, they must play by the rules. Read about your rights when dealing with debt collectors, and what debt collectors may and may not do.

I Have some company, they did told me who they are, they are trying to collect a debt but wont accept my card, they want a pre paid or they will make an arrest warrent.

Do not pay with a pre-paid card. A debt collector can not arrest you. That is a lie. This sounds like a scam.

A real debt collector must send you a written "validation notice." If he calls again, tell him to send a validation notice. Do not talk to him until you get the validation notice.

If you really have a debt, call the company you owe. Ask about your debt. Ask the company how to pay your debt.

I got a tex from a enforcement team saying that they will be coming out to my house there is no contact number or whats it for and no name on it I don't know what to do about it thanks

Could someone please help me

Me too I've been getting a lot of text messages saying the same thing. But there are no contact details. No creditor information. But they have my name, address so its worrying.

Hi, I just received a text from my son whom the debt collector contacted twice vs. email. First he thought it was a scam. The second time he received it he sent it to me today.

I would like to file a suit against them since this illegal. Do I have grounds to do so?

Debt collectors are allowed to send you text messages to collect a debt. They can also call you, or send a letter or email.

It is against the law for a debt collector to pretend to be a lawyer, or to falsely threaten to sue you, whether he contacts you by text, phone, letter or email.

I received a text message from a company stating that I was going to be getting a letter delivered to me on the 25th of February. With a contact number I called the contact number and they said I owed money for a payday loan but I never took out is this considered a scam because I've been receiving a lot of phone calls lately from company saying that I owe for payday loans I did take one back our way back when but I paid it back.

I have a bill collector who texts me on his personal cell phone. All the time. I mailed a money order out to them and obviously I can control the mail now according to the collection agency because they didnt receive it in 2 days. They guy was very rude and told me I have till friday to send the payment again. I felt bad and said I should have over nighted it but didnt have the money. His reply was yes you should have but here we are. The guy made me feel like crap. I'm doing everything I can possibly do. He constantly texts me and I dont know what to do

You have rights when a debt collector contacts you.  

The law says a debt collector can't contact you before 8 am or after 9 pm. unless you agree. A debt collector can't harass you by repeatedly calling you. A debt collector can't lie about how much you owe. 

Read about Debt Collection Facts.  You can report a debt collector to your state Attorney General. Here's a list of all state attorneys general

I continue to get text messages from someone saying that it is urgent that I call them and they give a number and some kind of account number. I also continue to get phone calls and voicemails from someone stating to be an attorney and I need to pay them or get taken to court but they refuse to tell me who they are and who the debt is thru and they never say that they are attempting to collect a debt. Do I have any legal recourse for this?

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