Phantom debt collectors impersonate law firms

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Getting a call from a debt collector can be stressful. But it can be downright frightening when the caller uses lies, profanity and threats to try to get you to pay. In a case announced today, the FTC says a debt collection operation in Charlotte, NC pretended to be lawyers. Really, they were not lawyers and had no authority to collect debts.

The FTC says the “collectors” used a variety of names to make people think they were dealing with a law firm. The imposters told people they were delinquent on a payday loan or other debt and threatened them with arrest, jail time, or getting sued unless they paid by credit or debit card over the phone.

Sometimes, the callers had personal information, like Social Security and bank account numbers, or relatives’ names. The callers used this information to convince people that the calls were legitimate.

In truth, the FTC says, the defendants pressured people into paying debts they never owed.

You can’t be arrested for not paying your bills. If a debt collector calls about a debt – and before you agree to pay anything – ask for a written proof that says how much money you owe and to who, and what to do if you don’t think you owe the money. By law, debt collectors have to send you a written document, called a validation notice, within five days after they first contact you. If they don’t, that’s a warning sign that they may not be legitimate.

Debt collection complaints account for nearly one-third of consumer complaints to the FTC. If you, or someone you know, has gotten a suspicious debt collection call, report it to the FTC. With your help, we’re finding the bad guys and putting them out of business.

 

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

Thank you for doing your job. This type of scam is pervasive in our nation. Small businesses who have limited legal support are attacked daily. In some cases, actor/s have the ability to produce credit challenges and follow up pretending to be attorney seeking collection. Shameful.

I have been getting calls from an attorneys office in Nashville Tn. Where I did live for 27 years. Not if it is my bill. I'm 60 years old , on disability since 2011. We had people living downstairs of us immediately harassed about this electric bill. My Fiance passed away. I had to leave our home. They are called. Robinson, Reagan and young.615/ 726 /0902. 446 a James Robertson pkwy suite 200 Nashville Tn. 37219 -1533.my memory is off so I truly am not sure of this.

Under federal law, a debt collector must send you a written validation notice within five days after they first contact you.

The notice must tell you:

  • how much money you owe
  • who you owe money to
  • what to do if you think you don't owe money

You could tell a collector to send a validation notice. 

If you think the bill is not yours, you could call the Attorney General in Tennessee at 615-741-3491.

Also there is a Fox collection agency in Nashville Tn Calling me a lot. I mentally cannot deal with these rude, demanding people. Please help if you are able. Thank you .

Put them out of business.

This has happened to me numerous times. They've even called and threatened to serve me with papers at work to try and embarrass me. Thanks to this website though I've known to not be fooled by them.

I received a call from 1-866-636-2218. They called me to my work phone (I'm a teacher) the gentleman said he was an investigator from Taos County New Mexico and was about 30 minutes from my High School. He said he was going to the Principal to issue a summons in my name for a debt. This "debt" was from a Credit Card in 2005 that was paid off in 2008. The man said I had 30 minutes to call the 1866 number or else he would have to make a "scene" at the school I teach at. This is completely unprofessional and a scam! They didn't even know my home address.

Calls coming in with the caller id showing V+many numbers. Can these reported to Do Not Call?

Yes, you can report the calls to DoNotCall.gov

Those numbers are Verizon numbers. I mean they are calling from a phone number given out by Verizon.

I received a call from a debt collector he was looking for my son. We told them to not call us once before. He had my husband in such a state that he was turning red. He told us he can call as much as he wants. He said he knows the law plus he works for the law firm. We told him we would call the state police if he called again. He said he knows all the cops so there is nothing we can do but give him my son's number. I got so mad that when we hung up I looked up an attorney and I was given this site. We get many of these calls about debt collecting. Other calls we receive never talk when you pick up the phone.

Under federal law, a debt collector can contact people besides the debtor, but only to find out the debtor's address, home phone or work location.

Under federal law, the collector can usually contact people only one time.  Read more about debt collection rights.

"debt collectors have to send you a written document, called a validation notice, within five days after they first contact you."

Excellent tip.

Thank you for saying this. Peace of mind. I will make sure to mention that in future incidents. So scary for sure they almost had me pay upfront. They had the last four numbers of my debt card and had my #SSN and even called my work.

stop calling me from 844 369 3851. scammer alert

Receiving numerous robot phone calls from 580-289-2502 regarding an IRS audit and lawsuit.

I've been chased by this scam, at least 1-2 of them, for 2 years now. They almost scared me into paying $900 on a $5k debt, that I was sure I did not owe. But, they called themselves an Arbitration firm and didn't have to give me a debt validation letter.When she threatened to have the process server bring a wage garn to my work the next day, I got scared and said I will call you back. She had the last 4 of my social,home address/phone#,work address and called me actually at my work#. I went to the bank and got verification that the account # to MY BANK, was not open or ever used by me. Googled the phone#,supposed name of firm, and found out all I could about these scams- called her back and said No thank you= send the Process Server.No one showed up-& 2 years later they still call my friends and family and leave horrible scary msgs that I am a defendant in a lawsuit and need to contact them. Such Bull. Don't be scared, get prepared. Know your rights and google google google the crap out of all the info they give you - 99.9% it's a scam. ;)

It should also be illegal for an unethical, but legitimate, company to put a legitimate debt into legitimate collections without first sending you a bill. This recently happened to me due to an emergency room visit.

I receive fake debt collection calls daily. All of them are bogus and illegal. I have never given in to any of them & nothing, I repeat, nothing has ever happened & my credit score remains high. My land line provider only allows me very limited call blocking, so it is useless. Maybe it's time to dump my land line since 90% of the calls are telemarketers & scammers.

Stop calling me from 855-707-6649. This is a credit scam, making you think you owe thousands of dollars from delinquent credit cards.

What can I do with these septic companies like septic savior is one of them for the past 3yrs I have asked them not to call and take me off there call list and they still keep calling?

I have been getting several emails from scammers claiming to be from a payday loan company saying that if I do not pay the settlement money that they say I owe to them that they are going to file a lawsuit against me. They claim that they have all of my personal information on file and that I applied for a payday loan with their company and I refused to pay the loan back in full. These people are scammers and they need to be stopped ASAP!!!!

A company in charlotte claiming to be capital reassurance keeps calling saying that there is a claim against me and wheb i xalled back to see what this was about she said when she calls me back she will know.i laughed they keep calling i block the number not working so i had no choice to report it

Even when you are contacted for a legitimate bill, it still helps to know your rights. In may case as a veteran, ambulance services act like scum bags frequently and flaunt the consumer debt protect laws.

I had an ambulance ride in January 2012. CO A's bill was rejected by VA the next month, but neither one told me.

October 2012 I received a notice of collection (note: never billed by ambulance co). I immediately wrote a request for debt verification, and included my complaint about not receiving a bill prior to collection. I never received a reply.

August of 2013 I discovered via a record check that a new collection agency had put a collection note on all my consumer reports, with NO NOTICE to me.

I contacted the collection agency and had to bully (all collection agencies have a nasty assumption they are always right) them for over a month, via phone and email to get them to remove everything from my consumer reports. At the same time I had also filed a lengthy complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

In the end, the ambulance company never received a dime of it's $1,063 that VA owed them, and that I personally confirmed that VA was willing to pay Co A, if VA was correctly billed.

K A R M A =^..^= for bad billing practices

So tired of this number 844-369-3851 calling and harassing us.
It is not funny any,pre. Get them to stop and put them in jail
Should not happen

I received a call from 203-514-4150 indicating there was an IRS lawsuit pending against me and that I needed to contact a lawyer and respond to file IR##### immediately.

On September 6th I received a call from 866-986-4585, and the caller claimed that they represented a law firm that was going to sue me if I didn't pay $5000 for an unpaid payday loan. I've never taken out payday loan, so I was immediately suspicious. However, they knew my name, birthdate, old address and the name of my old employer. When I tried to explain to the caller that I had no knowledge of the debt he immediately became irate and threatened that if I didn't make arrangements to pay I was going to be sued, and that they would embarrass me by serving me at my place of business. I asked for the name of the caller, business name, and mailing address, and he said that legally he didn't have to provide that information to me and then he hung up the phone. I immediately filed a complaint with the FTC.
The next day my HR manager received a call from the same phone number. The caller told my HR manager that they represented a law firm that was trying to serve me and that they wanted to serve me at my residence so that they wouldn't embarrass me at work. The caller then asked for my personal contact information (home phone number and the address of my residence) so that they could avoid embarrassing me. When my HR manager said that he wouldn't provide that information the caller cursed and hung up the phone. My HR manager immediately contacted me and expressed concern for my safety. I filed another complaint with the FTC. Then today at work received 3 calls within 5 minutes, which showed up on my caller ID as from an "unknown", "unlisted", and "out of area caller." I didn't answer, and they never left a voicemail message. I'll keep filing complaints until the calls stop. It is highly annoying and extremely stressful, especially when you know for certain that you don't have any unpaid debts.

In particular, these scammers like to clam they are bill collectors for the IRS.

my son has been getting numerous calls daily stating numerous financial problems with IRS and other creditors and demanding immediate response. We have a joint business and the phone is in my name. He has to answer the phone because of the business, and it is creating a lot of stress on him. I just entered our phone numbers on the no call list. I hope that will help this situation I will get actual phone numbers and information from him and post. This is not only annoying but stressful even though the information being mentioned is false.

Both my husband and I are both getting calls from a Christine White at 844-868-8436 stating that a lawsuit is being filed under my husbands name with the county that we are in and under the ss number. She goes on to say that we need to call back to stop the action from happening. The call ends with CONSIDER YOURSELF SERVED. Neither one of us are calling back. You don't threaten people over the phone and why would someone be called to be served. The point to serve someone I thought was to be served personally and in a way that the person is surprised at home or work.

Twice I have gotten calls from Capital Reassurance from a Providence Rhode Island number (401)729-0708 instructing me to call their mediation department regarding a claim pending against me...the message is garbled and doesn't say my name...instructs me to reference number 863308...I called and got no answer

I also have gotten two calls from Capital Reassurance calling from 401-729-0708 saying that they are calling regarding a case "in which you are named as a respondent." They never say my name just give a reference number. I don't call numbers I don't know and don't answer calls from anyone who is not on my contact list so decided to look up this Capital Reassurance on the Internet to see what it was and saw the post from JDove...I am ignoring everything. I think it is very suspect that #1 they don't mention your name, and #2 if it was that important why are they calling over the phone. I would think that they would send a legitimate letter or have me served.

877-589-3077 calls me, says they are an attorney but won't provide their name, company name or where they practice. They use my maiden name and last four of my ssn to prove they're "official". They say I owe on an "old credit card", which I don't, and demand payment by phone. They offer to accept a credit card with the security code on back or my banks routing number so they can deduct monthly payments. They say the balance is $10,000 but they'll drop it to $7,000 (how nice!) if I pay today. They won't provide the name of the card they're calling about or the address the statements were sent to. When I asked for an itemize statement they said I should get an attorney because they're sending me to jail. They also say the officer will come arrest me at my job or home. They won't confirm my work or home address and then they tell me good luck and hang up. This happens every few months and multiple times within the week. I used to ignore their calls and block their number but now they use a different number and they are harassing me. I finally reported them today, not just for myself but for others who may not be so familiar with these types of scammers. I don't want a young person or a senior to be harassed. It can be frightening if you don't know better.

I have had several phone calls from a company claiming to be legitimate trying to collect a debt from a payday loan from 2012 using an address I moved out of in 2008 with a bank account that I closed in 2005. I explain to them that I never had any payday loans and they threatened they were going to garnish my wages which is against Pennsylvania State Law. Also I told them under the Pennsylvania Fair Debt Act that all correspondence must be done through mail. When they demanded my address I told them they get paid to find it. The call still kept coming in until I gave them a dose of their own medicine. To finally get rid of them I had to use a prank phone calling app and send them a hundred thousand phone calls a day for 2 weeks. According to our local FBI office it was a complete scam

I received a call yesterday on my cell phone and today on my work phone from a California number (559-573-8875). The voicemail messages said the caller was John Burrell from the legal division of Capital Reassurance. They threatened to serve my employer, garnish my wages, etc., regarding two "pending allegations" against me. I was instructed to call (667) 206-1863. I have no pending allegations against me and will NOT be calling. These calls are so annoying.

I have suddenly received phone calls from a random number asking to call back several times a day. They do not say who they are and they called my boyfriend and his parents at their numbers. We are not linked in any way and live in separate houses. I have never used him as a reference and I do not have his parents number so how in the world would a legitimate company get their info and be calling about both of us since we have nothing together? It is very disturbing. They call from 916-596-3751 and they say to call 877-350-2917. Google did not bring up any companies with those numbers.

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