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Company kept collecting debts it knew were phony

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Have you gotten a call, a letter, an email, or a text message about a debt that sounds fishy? Don’t take the bait, because “phantom” debt collectors try to pressure people into paying debts they don’t really owe. In its effort to crack down on phantom debt collectors, the FTC has charged a North Carolina operation with collecting over $30,000 in fake debts, despite consumer complaints that the debts weren’t real.

In 2014, the ACDI Group purchased a portfolio of more than 2,000 supposedly past-due payday loans. According to the FTC, these debts were fake – but the names, addresses, Social Security numbers, telephone numbers, and email addresses attached to them were real. ACDI’s sister company began contacting these consumers to collect the bogus debts. In many instances, consumers complained about the fraudulent collections and provided proof that they didn’t owe the debt. Due to the high volume of complaints, the debt seller refunded to ACDI the money it paid for the debt portfolio. The debt seller also instructed ACDI to stop collecting on the debt. But that’s not the end of the story.

Not only did the defendants get a refund from the debt seller, they also kept the money they had already collected on the phony portfolio. Even worse, they continued collecting money from consumers on the fake debts for at least another seven months. The FTC’s action seeks to prevent future violations and refund people who paid money they didn’t really owe.

This case is part of the FTC’s efforts to combat phantom debt collection.

Don’t let debt collectors – real or phony – scare you. Know your legal rights, so you can spot when something isn’t right. By law, debt collectors have to send you a validation notice in writing, within five days of contacting you. If they don’t, that’s a red flag. And if a debt collector threatens, harasses or intimidates you to pay a debt, that’s illegal, too. Report it to the FTC.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


If you pay inside, take your car keys with you.

There are those you can not turn off. I have gathered pages of numbers from the same group and even turned it over to our local PD.

I receive letters from a debt collector every year trying to collect past due mortgage payments on a property that I do not owe. I have even had an attorney send them a letter.

So glad the authorities are able to put an end to such illegal operations. Is it really a mystery as to why so many people feel violated on so many different levels. .............. Additional, I would love, to see a study done, as to how, the AFCA has affected the over all business model of pay day lending operations. Has the implementation of folks having access to health care for themselves and their children and access to dental and vision care for their children put a dent in folks utilizing payday lending service providers. That some business models are now finding other avenues to create income. Or reduce the size of their business office staff without changing pay words etc. that more of these types of illegal activities will surface and come to light in the future. ............. Hopefully,hopefully, some organization will be able be able to study in depth what is the reason for such illegal activities above and beyond pure greed and lack of concern for folks with in our precious existence.

It is unbelievable that these so call reputable business defraud poor consumers out of their hard earned money. This scam is so widespread here. I constantly get calls from these collection companies some after twenty years later. The worst ones are telephone co.,auto loans, banks, credit cards and utilities companies.Consumers needs these FTC to have come protection against harrasment, fraud deceptiveness and scams. I am dealing with them all, I am thankful for FTC for informing the consumers of these illegal acts

These days you can't even answer your phone! !

Good idea letting Joel off the hook though.

DeVry Institute/Becker CPA Review does this phantom invoicing all the time. Many complaints, with proof galore, were forwarded to the FTC on them. Becker has long fleeced trusting students across the U.S. Please report them, and DeVry Educational Services, when you're hit. Little slows down Becker, or DeVry, from fake billings. Both are pure scam rings gone awry. I was ripped off by them in ways beyond words. You may have been hit already and don't suspect it.

Good to know about the validation notice. Thank you

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