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Four dishonest debt collectors down…

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Even though it’s a new year, some things remain the same. Illegal debt collection is still a big problem – which means it’s a big deal here at the FTC. We’ve made some progress: you might remember the 115 cases we announced in November, working with more than 70 law enforcement partners. That was big, but we’re not done yet.

Today, we’re announcing four cases against debt collectors who did pretty much everything wrong – and the release of one video with the story of a veteran who did pretty much everything right.

What do the cases have in common? In all four, the company pretended to be someone they were not – a court official, law enforcement, process servers. In all four, they threatened consumers – telling people they’d be arrested, their vehicle would be impounded, their wages garnished, they’d be sued if they didn’t pay. And all four failed to give consumers the information they’d need to dispute the debt. Which is, of course, required by the law.

But three of the cases had their own special brand of illegality, according to the FTC: Warrant Enforcement Division made their false claims in writing – sending letters and postcards saying things like: “FINAL NOTICE BEFORE ARREST.” AFS Legal Services didn’t even verify that the people they were calling actually owed money – yet they contacted relatives, friends and co-workers about the person’s debts. And Williams Scott knew the debts weren’t real, but they tried to collect them anyway. All illegal.

When there are so many bad debt collectors, what’s a person to do? Well, check out the story of Bryan Noyes, an Army veteran who got harassing debt collection calls – and then got help from Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Portland, Maine. As he and Veterans Outreach Coordinator, Rob Liscord, say in the video: there are services that can help you. And tell the FTC if you spot a bad debt collector. Every report makes a difference.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


GREAT JOB , Now lets get the ones that call and say they are the NRA . National Recovery Agency

I was called last April of 2015, and was told that my computer had several viruses, and for a fee of $199.00 they would fix the problem. I agreed to pay, and things were fine till 1/6/16, and the same man called back stating again that since I switched to Windows 10 my computer was unprotected, and offered to fix the problem again, so I let him take over control of the computer since I was told before getting started that there was no charge. Then when he was finished he informed me that the computer was locked, and he would not release it until I paid him another $199.00. I told him I was not paying him anymore money, couldn't afford to pay anything more, but he refused. After several minutes of arguing with him, he hung up the phone. Fortunately I found someone else to help, and I got all my computer information back. The phone number he was calling from was: 653-257-3959; which I found on the internet as the number is in Mexico.

You can report this to the FTC at The details you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments don't go into the database.

An elderly relative in the hospital got this call and I called back...209 682 5801.
A company had been charging this eldrly person's credit card for MARTIAL ARTS videos since he went in the hospital. His credit card company, Bank of America is not helpful or sensitive, Save yourself the problem and report this number right away.

I have been receiving threatening emails, arrest warrants, court dates and threats against my income and jobs. The agencies involved are ACS/ACE now FCS is threatening b/c I have not sent monies to the other two. They say that they have sent hard copies in the mail but I have received nothing. I did have some dealings with One Click Cask, Cash Net USA and other Fast Cash agencies. My bank statements show that I received $3,470 and have paid back $4706.59. They say that the deposited money in my account but no money was. This Jason Patrick now claims that I have been black listed from getting any job and will have IRS hold my SS checks. This is getting out of hand. I have sent complaints for almost two years but nothing is done. I contacted a lawyer but he said that he couldn't help b/c they are a scam company.

Some one should check our Portfolio Recovery. They have so many numbers it's not even funny. They never leave a message but they start calling around 7 a.m. and don't stop till around 9;30. I have seen posts on the internet that they are predatory collectors.

You can report problems to the FTC at The details you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments don't go into the databse.

I have reported Santander aka Drive financial to you agency three times and nothing....This

Wow, you are so right. They're very rude aggressive with no training to collect debt. I got a call at 9:30 pm I asked the person why are you calling me from a regular number to collect money at this hour? The person hung the phone the next day I recieved credit alert on my credit report of derogatory remarks about the account. I'm done with all the abuse harassment calls and scams. These days our information are being passed around like a pop corn at the movies. We're so not safe in this society wonder why people these days are stressed out will it takes no brainer.

Is there anything you can do about Fox Propaganda and Distort using the airwaves to hypnotize old white men?

Nope they can't because 1. They did nothing wrong it's legal what they are doing and 2. Fox is run by republicans. So just don't watch any fox stations

What is the statue of limitations for a company to have a judgment against someone's license for an accident that happen in 2003?

If your question is about a judgment in your local or state court, you can check with the clerk's office of the court, or contact your state Attorney General’s office.

You can use this site from the State Bar Associations to find a lawyer in your state.

This state-by-state list from the American Bar Association has more information about lawyers.

I wish the court case for the debt settlement named Morris Hunter and Knight in California would come up.They have my $5700.00 I would like to get back

The irs owes me a refund. They keep saying "must wait another 45 days" 4 times already. Do you have any power over the IRS

I had a $36,000 Parent Plus loan from 2007 that I have paid EVERY month (MORE than the interest) for over seven years. The Dept. of Ed just refinanced it with FedLoan Services and said it's 39,500! The past 5 months alone I gave it $400 PER MONTH knowing the interest is $275 per month and NOT ONE PENNY OF THE $2000 WENT TO THE PRINCIPLE. This is criminal...what do I do!

You can contact the loan servicer to get detailed information about your account, including payment history and loan balance. The loan servicer should be able to tell you how your payments are applied to interest and principal. If you think there was a mistake in how the loan was refinanced, contact the original lender and the new lender to see details about the transaction.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau takes complaints about problems with financial services and products.

I received multiple calls during the day while I was at work wanting me to return a collections call for a past due debt. I happened to be home late the next day and received the call again. I answered and they right off the bat started telling me that I owed $7000 plus interest and if I didn't pay it I was going to lose my house. After talking to the person and getting them to calm down, we discovered that it was for a totally different person for student loans in a city that I had never lived in(I also didn't go to college, so hence, no loans). All they were going by was my name and the harassment started. This went on for three weeks before I was able to put a stop to it.

I have a company calling stating I owe a payday loan from 2007 and when I ask for company information they can't provide it. I let them know it was filed in a bankruptcy and offered case number but they refused to take information..

Gateway Mediators called me this a.m. and told me that I was gonna have felony charges filed against me in the a.m, to be arrested for a loan that was in 2010? I think that this is a scam but how do I know if this is real or a scam?

A debt collector can't issue a warrant for your arrest for owing money. The caller may have been threatening you to get you to pay. That's illegal.

You won’t be arrested because you owe money, but a company can sue you if they think you owe them money. If you get documents from a court, pay attention. You need legal advice.

If a debt collector calls, ask him to send you a written "validation notice" of your debt. If you ask the debt collector for a written "validation notice" of your debt, he has to comply. He has to send a notice that includes the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor you owe, and your rights under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

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

In August i was contacted by one Anthony odium from boynton beach Florida about debt relief.i was asked to give my account number and send a picture of a check.i decided to surrender my only credit card plus home depot and two chase cards.i agree to pay $419.03 every month for 3 years.the name used is anastasia gagas based in either California or oswego in new York state.they use the name gateway to take out money from my checking account.the statement from them with fees taken out and paid to compliance enrollment and solstice for the next three do far they have taken out for seven months.i am now being sued by citibank for homedepot and got no help and want me to file a 2016 tax for indebtness and send to them.i would like to get my money I can pay my creditors

There are rules about what a debt relief company must do. For example the company has to

  • explain its fees and any conditions on its services
  • tell you how long it will take to get results
  • tell you that money you put into an account that is yours
  • say that you may withdraw your money at any time without paying a penalty.

A debt relief company should not tell you to stop talking to the companies you owe money to. The debt relief company is supposed to transfer money from your account to the companies you owe.

If you're putting money in an account, but the company is not sending it to the people you owe, you could stop working with the company and change your bank account number. If you think the company is committing fraud, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission,  your state Attorney General’s office and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

You may want to contact a credit counseling agency to get help with budgeting and managing your debt.

Barry, How are you making out??? I just started this "program" is it a scam?

Before you do business with any debt relief service, check it out with your state Attorney General and local consumer protection agency. Find out if there are consumer complaints on file about the service you're considering. Ask your state Attorney General if the company is required to be licensed to work in your state. Then see if the company has a license.

Find out what services the business provides, how much it costs, and how long it may take to get the results they promised. Don’t rely on verbal promises. Get everything in writing, and read your contracts carefully.

A reputable credit counseling organization can advise you on managing your money and debts, help you develop a budget, and offer free educational materials and workshops. Counselors are certified and trained in consumer credit, money and debt management, and budgeting. Many universities, military bases, credit unions, housing authorities, and branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service operate non-profit credit counseling programs.

Had a credit card machine 14+ years ago. Lost business, filed bankruptcy. Got a letter this week that I owe money, but will give me a hardship settlement. Company name Northern leasing systems. Wants money overnighted. Isn't there a statute of limitations?

This FTC article has information about time-barred debts. Collectors may not be able to sue you to collect on old debt, because debt collectors have a limited number of years — known as the statute of limitations — to sue you to collect. After that, your unpaid debts are considered "time-barred." According to the law, a debt collector cannot sue you for not paying a debt that's time-barred.

But, the statute of limitations varies from state to state and for different kinds of debts. Also, under certain circumstances, the clock can be reset, and the time period can be started fresh.

You may want to talk with the person or firm that handled your bankruptcy. If you want to find a lawyer you can use this state-by-state list from the American Bar Association or visit this site from the State Bar Associations.

My friend and family have been receiving calls from a Locator Service company stating they are looking for me. When I called the number provided 720446-0566 which is an answering service who checks your number against a data base to see where to send you. I was forwarded to a locator who did not provide their name but did provide extension 406. She forwarded me to Alex Walton ID No. 67832 who said that Gateway Mediation had conducted an arbitration and that they have received an order to seize any assets for their client Cash Call. I did have an account with Cash Call in 2007 which has been settled. I informed Alex that this debt was settled and that they cannot collect on this debt. That and they have not received an order because I was never served with notice of mediation and that they cannot conduct mediation without the other party. I asked for the company's mailing address and Alex would not provide the information and stated that they have the right to collect and will do whatever they need to do and then he proceeded to state my entire social security number to me over the phone.

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