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FTC halts another phantom debt collection scheme

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Getting a call about a debt you don’t owe – or even recognize – can be annoying. It can be downright scary when the caller claims to be a lawyer and threatens legal action if you don’t pay.

Such are the ploys of phantom debt collectors: lies, harassment, intimidation and threats.

Today, the FTC filed a lawsuit against Global Asset Financial Services Group (GAFS) and fifteen related defendants for operating a fake debt collection scheme. The FTC’s complaint says that GAFS employees claimed to be lawyers or affiliated with law firms. In truth, they were not lawyers and had no authority to collect debts.

The fraudulent scheme bilked millions of dollars from consumers for debts they did not owe. At the FTC’s request, a federal court has temporarily halted the operation and frozen its assets. This action is part of the FTC’s continuing crackdown on abusive and phantom debt collectors.

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.

If you, or someone you know, has gotten a suspicious debt collection call, report it to the FTC. We’ve stopped a lot of bad debt collectors. Help us stop more.

 

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! Do not fall for these scams. I have had to deal with many of these scams over the years and I go through several steps from not responding and filing complaints to local agencies such as Dept of Business Oversight in California to the federal level; I have received responses and actual calls tro give information on these scammers.

Thank you for reporting the calls and filing complaints.

When you report to the FTC at www.FTC.gov/Complaint, the information goes into a secure database. The FTC and other law enforcement agencies across the country use the information for investigations.

So why wernt all the victims, including the ones that were harrassed hourly with their fake phone calls being notified and compensated? The law is $500 per call correct? Enforce it!

I contact you a lot with scammers demanding money or their tactics to get money and after 3 years informed them on my voicemail that they will be reported to the FTC. One is just so brazen , he does not care. Why??? he left a voicemail back that he does not like my tone and I owe them money. I blocked their calls so they now call with unknown caller. I can not believe with our technology that they can not be stopped.

Thank you for reporting to the FTC and providing information that helps with investigations.

Thank you for the alerts!

so glad you stop this one. get the rest of them and thanks

Thanks Guys / Ladies ! Great Job ~

I pay for my phone service, and i am sick of paying to be harrassed. It should be illegal for anyone to call me on my phone to sell me something or ask for donations. Please stop the madness, make it illegal.

It is already illegal for scammers to call any cell phone or number that is on the Do Not Call List. But the laws are not enforced so the scammers ignore the laws and so *50%* of all calls now made are junk calls. It's the number one complaint to the feds. It's truly a shame.

I answered a stupid online survey for an aldi card and the first time it said I had to pick one of the 3 products to get it which was misleading so I did and then it brought me to another screen with one of 3 more and so on....next day I have 23 calls from people all over the country there us no explanation except they SOLD MY PERSONAL INFORMATION. NOW I CANT EVEN HAVE MY RINGER ON MY PHONE .

Whistle great arsenal! The onslaught of repetitive zombie debt collectors and/or other scams is robbing my precious time. To ward off these time stealers I now employ a loud whistle blow rather than "hello". I'm fed up wasting my time whistle deters repeat calls. Focusing on emails now ie "silent treatment" not sure of approach yet. KUDO's FTC for your outstanding actions and support in stopping this illegal onslaught!!!

I get so many calls daily and I block calls but they call on another number. I don't answer but they are annoying. How do they keep calling.

thanks for the info on this one I will be saving this info and show others what to look out for.

These scammers have access to a lot of your personal information and are very convincing. Along with the easy stuff such as your address they have access to your family members and other personal information.

I think those sites that will give someone your personal information including who your family members are should be illegal! But how do they get that info?? Just thought of Facebook and sites that you can list family members. Think I'll take all mine off, but they already have that info anyway don't they?

Scammers work hard to steal your money. I almost fell for a scam when I looked into commodity trading once decades ago. The soft sell became a hard sell when I became reluctant to invest my money. Prefilled forms, a courier to come pick up my check, all made me suspicious. Then the calls insulted my intelligence for not going ahead and investing. These people use all the tricks. Beware.

These phony calls are rampant. The tech support calls. The IRS calls. Social Security calls. It never ends. I make a practice of reporting them because I know that vulnerable people ( especially seniors) fall for them a lot!

Go after Another PORTFOLIO RECOVERY. They are calling from massive amount of phone numbers and area codes.

I received 3 phone calls from a number from Waterloo New York. The gentleman had an accent so I really did not understand his name, but he clearly stated he worked with the government. He claimed that he was calling on behalf that I was awarded a $9000.00 grant. The reason he claims was because I paid my bills on time and didn't have any criminal activities this past year. He then said I had two options to receive payment. Option 1 was through western union or direct deposit. I told him western union would be best and he gave me a # and comfermation pin. I was told to call the number immediately after hanging up. I had a bad feely so I googled the number and found that it was a scam. Ten minutes later the same gentleman called back and asked why if I had already called the #. I told him no and that this was a scam. He assured me this was no scam and I told him that the government would have notified me through the mail in a secured envelope. He tried to explain why they cannot send it through the mail and I simply told him no thank you. He then told me that my grant was canceled and I told him thank you.

I’ve had a few of these calls myself and when you say that you want to research the situation and get back to them they get very persistent and demanding. I had to end the call a couple times then somebody else tries to call one person actually wanted me to confirm my ZIP Code which I refuse to do and then he hung up. My son has been abused as well buy these calls with the same type format that they were a lawyer. Trying to scare him and put them into a duress state of mind when he didn’t even know what it was about. My son is been traumatized so he is a disabled adult and I have as well so it is difficult when you’re a senior and disabled due to trauma when you get a call like this it actually affects you more than you normally would have been affected. Thank you for stopping some of this I have save some of the phone numbers maybe I’ll try to get them to you as well

The "Do not call" registration doesn't work at all. Change it to the "Call me" registration: I would have to register my number if it was ok for telemarketers to call me. Otherwise, every telemarketer call would be illegal and subject to federal penalty.

Thank you for your alert.

We eliminated 98% of scam & telemarketer calls by buying an inexpensive telephone with answering machine. Nearly all the unwanted callers hang up as soon as the machine kicks in. And the couple that do leave a message ('You've got great credit') I report to the Do Not Call registry. Scammers don't get the chance to even try to get my personal information. Maybe a $50 investment in a phone might be a little too much for some people, but loosing their life savings is even more expensive.

I have directed a Florida computer club with nearly 200 elderly members for 17 years. Seven years ago when one of my members was robbed of $40,000 on a lottery scam we declared "war" on hackers and scammers. At monthly meetings I include updates of the current rip-offs thanks to FTC and other gov't. agencies. In the seven years we have reduced our incidents to as low as 2017-3 for less than $800 total , 2018-2 for less than $500 and we are gunning for 2019 - $000.

Buddybanks,  Kudos to you and the computer club members for being informed and avoiding hackers and scammers. It's great to hear that you're using FTC tips and information.

You can order free print material for the club from  www.FTC.gov/Bulkorder. The material is free, and the shipping is free too. If you have questions, write to BlogInfo@FTC.gov. Best wishes for hitting your $000 goal in 2019.

Thank you once again CFPB. If this helps.in the future, I keep far away from anything ( debt collection agencies, debt consolidation companies etc. Most especially Sweepstakes offers with the word GLOBAL in the name!!! They seem to have their hand in every scam around. Just a suggestion-

I got scammed out of 3K by some guy parading as a private lender. I had to give them money for application fees so they said then the night before before the closing on the property they called and said in order to close tomorrow id have to wire them another 8K for loan insurance fees. My closing agent realized then that he was a fraud and i printed out all of my emails back and forth with these evil beings. Glad I did as then they pretended to be the FBI contacting me to help me with a group of fraudsters one of which they had in custody. When i insisted on an address of a contact point they of course failed to respond and then they hacked my computer and deleted every email btw myself and them. Good thing i printed it out. Now not sure what to do with it. I registered a claim with FTC but never heard back. One of my friends told me to go to my local FBI but they likely wont care that i got scammed. Ugh. You all are correct they are everywhere acting as insurance companies, lenders, etc. What little money hard working folks are able to earn they are around EVERY corner trying to steal it! Tech has made so many more problems than ever!!

I’ve been forced to leave my phone on permanent do-not-disturb so that it only rings for people in my contacts. If it’s an emergency, they’ll leave a message.

Thank you for supporting the "little guys" with your service!

I was harassed by one today. Gave me the name of a law firm that doesn’t exist.

Call from 512-564-8526 bot. Threatens legal action. I call back and the number is disconnected. Why would they leave a number to call back?

Is there a way to stop skip-trace debt collectors from calling relatives? Midland Credit Management has called my adult daughter asking for my son. They have called me at least twice a day for months, but as caller i.d. identifies their number as Spam, or they block their number and it shows as Unknown Caller, i haven't answered. Should i answer and tell them to stop calling? Is skip-trace calling illegal?

A debt collector can contact other people to find out the address, home phone number, and work place of a person who owes the debt, but usually can’t contact them more than once. This FTC article about debt collection has more information about your rights related to debt collection and debt collectors.

How do you convince your family members that these people are scammers? Calling and posing as process servers saying they are trying to locate you, calling your family saying they are coming to their house to locate you. Won’t tell me the name of their company, or even who their client is. Just saying they have a “pending judgement “ ready to be filed with my county. Sometimes they say they are calling from the county pre-trial division and need to make sure I’m available at a certain time so they can deliver the notice. They always say things like “We can put a stop to these proceedings with a payment arrangement, let me see if I can get the attorney on the phone” moments later, the attorney has agreed to hold the case as long as I make a good faith payment of $100 (which I did) and set up payments for the rest. So I ask “what happens if I don’t pay?” The response? We will keep calling your job and your family members until we locate you. I said...I’ve lived at the same address for 9 years. Not that hard to find me. How can you report them if you don’t know who they are or where they are located? Only a 800-number and case number given. At my wits end with these people. And they just keep passing me around!!

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