Is that debt collector for real?

It’s stressful enough getting calls from debt collectors for bills you actually owe. But if you’ve ever been harassed and threatened for debts you’ve never even heard about, let alone accrued, it can be downright harrowing – and quite possibly illegal.

Today, the FTC announced that a U.S. district court has temporarily halted a Georgia-based operation from using deception and threats to collect millions in phantom payday loan “debts.”  The FTC says Williams, Scott & Associates and company president John Williams lied and threatened people to pay on debts they didn’t owe – or debts the company didn’t have the authority to collect.

According to the FTC, the debt collectors claimed to be federal and state agents, investigators, or members of a government fraud task force, or they pretended to be with a law firm.  They falsely told consumers their driver’s licenses would be revoked and that they faced immediate arrest and imprisonment if they didn’t pay up.  How did the debt collectors even know to contact those consumers?  The FTC says many of the people had inquired about a payday loan online at one time and submitted contact information, which the company later got its hands on.  The case is pending in federal court in Atlanta.

Don’t get intimidated by a bullying bill collector – real or fake.  Any debt collector impersonating a law enforcement officer or threatening you with immediate arrest if you don’t pay up is violating federal law.

If you think a caller may be a fake debt collector:

  • Ask the caller for his name, company, street address, and telephone number. Tell the caller you won’t discuss any debt until you get a written "validation notice." If the caller refuses, don’t pay.
  • Put your request in writing. If you have the caller’s address, send a letter demanding that the caller stop contacting you, and keep a copy for your files. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires any debt collector to stop calling if you ask them to in writing.
  • Don’t give or confirm with the caller any personal, financial, or other sensitive information. Fake debt collectors, and other scammers, can use your information to commit identity theft and other crimes.
  • Contact your creditor.  If a debt is legitimate – but you think the collector isn’t – contact your creditor.  Tell them about the suspicious call and ask who, if anyone, the creditor has authorized to collect the debt.
  • Report the call. File a complaint with the FTC and your state Attorney General's office with information about suspicious callers. Many states have their own debt collection laws in addition to the federal FDCPA.

Learn more about protecting yourself from fake debt collectors and about your rights if you actually are facing debt collection.

 

Tagged with: debt, debt collection, scam
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

I believe these people are at it again.I received a call today from 210-762-6845. Received all kinds of threats about being arrested for being default on a payday loan and I have never had a payday loan.

Same thing happened to my wife today. Recieved a call from 210-853-2440 threatening with two felony charges and immediate jail time if an old credit card debt was not paid by 4pm.

I got the same call it was a Georgia number they told me I needed to pay or give them my attorney info by 4pm on a case that was filed in the county I live in when I asked why haven't I been contacted by the county or the sheriff she said oh it hasn't been filed yet

My husband just got an email an a text from a miller law firm about a payday loan in the email and owed money, and the text was there is a warrant out for your arrest, this stuff needs to Stop

I received calls yesterday, 2/17/17, on my landline (which is non-published/unlisted) and to my wife's cell phone from a "National Mediation Group" that has a possibly free web address of       nationalmediationgroup.          Weebly by the way is a free web site builder. Their site comments were written in the 3rd party, which is extremely odd. There is no address, phone number, etc. on their site. And it's a very pain site with hardly any images, etc. I called them back to see why they were calling and was informed that I had had a payday loan taken out in 2013, and on a bank account that isn't mine. They did know my SS#, and had several past addresses. They flat out refused, after being asked over and over, to send a validation letter in writing with the information on this loan, and from a "parent company" that has dozens of different payday loan companies. Hundreds of them no less.

If I paid one lump sum of just under $500.00 (the loan was supposedly for $500 but they would take less), or pay 6 payments of $250 (which would equal $1,500). I would be served "legal documents" the following week if I refused to pay them. Also I could hear many other reps in the background as with a call center. I asked about that and he said no, they are a "law firm." I said that they were then a call center and were a bill collector, and he exploded when told that. I said that they were in violation of FTC laws and rules, upon which he hung up. Called back several times, and no answer (this was early afternoon for all of this). Anyone else have issues with this "National Mediation Group" (phone number 855-690-1225)? They also called from a Phoenix, AZ landline with a different number.

These are useful details for a complaint. Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

I am getting a call from an unknown number saying I owe from an outstanding credit card that I stopped paying on almost 3 years ago. The guy is telling me if I do not take their settlement offer of $502.11 someone will be serving me. He knew my address, last four of social, and date of birth. I told him I want to resolve the debt but I will not just give anyone money on the phone that I would like some kind of documentation mailed to me showing proof of everything. He refused and said it's to late the only documentation I will get is me being served. I told him I need to speak with my fiancee before I pay any money and asked for a call back number. He said his name was Roz Wood and to call him back at (855)764-8845 when I asked for a company name he wouldn't give me anything. Has anyone else experienced this before? Is this a scam?

Every collector must send you a written “validation notice” telling you how much money you owe within five days after they first contact you. This notice also must include the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money, and how to proceed if you don’t think you owe the money.

This FTC article has information about your rights when you deal with a debt collector.

I was also contacted by a scammer and they also knew the last four of my social and an old address and old phone number also asked company name address and work id told me he couldn't disclose unless I verified social. They were very aggressive.

These "collectors" are spoofing telephone numbers for their illegal "business" activities. When asked for the Business name you may get three letters (ie: FMR) When returning a call to Sara, I gave my name to a young man with no name. He informed me that "she" was unavailable but could help me if I gave him my SS number. Ahh, NO! He became very rude as did his language. I asked him for his name, again and the name of the Business. He hung up. Possible spoof telephone number (877) 297-6361
Defiantly, a illegal collection "business" I have never gotten a Pay Day loan.

This same thing happenned to me yesterday! But it was from downstate but they knew the county soc dob bank account number, they knew tons of info. Guy said his name was Arnold. They almost got over 800 from me and I called the county and nothing filed and called the debt collector or said it is indeed a scam especially because the original debt is 254. It's so scary!

I got several calls with the same kind of threats. They even went so far as to call my job and give out my personal information. They also called one of the supervisors at my place of employment to discuss details of my 'case.' Seems unethical and illegal.

Yes I have,now I am getting calls from people using the same area code I live in but are from another country or have a strong foreign accent. Now I'm being told the documents a sealed and that I can not get copies of the complaint against me because they been sending them to and address that has not existed since 2005..There is no home it's an empty lot.

I just got the same thing!

Thanks for sharing your experience. You can file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov/complaint. Also, the article Fake Debt Collectors provides tips to help you handle calls like the one you describe.

thank you going through this right now

I'm so relieved to see this! They are calling me and saying the exact same thing!! The "attorney" that keeps trying to threaten me, is named Linda Chapman with "Legal Consultant Services" or "Legal Review Services" out of Atlanta GA, with the address of 8343 Roswell Rd. Suite 209 Atlanta GA 30350 & phone number 855-677-6357. Yhis supposed "attorney" Linda, told me that I had 2 pending federal felony charges, that ouccured from a loan I supposedly got in 2012, for $1,305.70 from a financial institution called ADVANCE CASH, out of Gaines county. When I asked her for more details on this matter, she referred me to call another number, which was 704-247-5085.

I just had the same thing happen to me from all the same numbers and people with different names yesterday! I am so glad this information is out there and people are sharing it!

I got an email from these people with the 712th Nonjudicial District Court seal on it.. It's incredibly intimidating until I realized that i never had a payday loan with the company they say they're representing. Unbelievable what these companies will do.

I got a call saying I applied for a online payday loan in 2012 and if I didn't pay right then 400 dollars it would raise to 800, and be sent to the courts. I was having hip replacement then and I have been disabled since 2010.

I received the same type of call today from Legal Review Services from a 334 area code number. I asked for them to send me documentation, they said the could not. Just as in the previous comments, it was from ADVANCE Cash that occurred in 2012. The told me it was for 1500 but I can settle for 943.00. I too am relieved but this must stop! Preying on innocent hard working people.

I received a call today notified from a Nicole foaster in sayn that im being sued by Sinai-Grace Hospital for a over due balance but they never said no court date they said i have to pay 630.00 in order to avoid going to court in this was told to me by a david williams i feel like its fake cause i havent received any notice by mail or email...what do i do

If you know you don't owe that debt, the call might have been from a fake debt collector.

Read the information at the top of this blog post, and use the tips. Start by asking the caller for a name, address and phone number. Tell him to send you a written validaton notice with information about the debt.

Do a map search of the address given and you will be surprised it's a vacant lot, or a abandoned house..use Google maps

I received a call in August of this year stating I owed a pay day loan and if I did not pay them by 5 pm that day that I would get a summons to appear in court on Monday and they threatened to garnish my wages. I found out it was a scam and disregarded it. On October 18th I received the same type of call but from Michigan from 734-224-6617 stating if I did not call them back that they would attempt the same as listed above.

A few days later a women called from 734-224-6618 identifying herself as a Ms Turner called saying if I did not call her back in 1 hours she would compile all my papers together and I would get a summons sent to Lake County Court on Monday of the following week. I ended up changing my number. She gave me a fake attorneys "William Pratt Young & Associates". Per my investigation; William & Pratt is a CPA office in Michigan and Young & Associates is an attorneys office. I called Young&Associates asking if there was an Emily/Rachel or Ms.Turner there. They said no. I explained why i was calling and was asked to leave a msg with one of the attorneys. I did leave a message. You can check yellowpages.com for Whitepages.com and see all comments for 734-224-6618 and 734-224-6617. I filed a complaint w/ FTC in August abt the first scam call. Not sure of the results or outcome.

I also received a phone call from "Ms. Turner" last week. She claimed that I owed $800 for a payday loan back in 2012. I told her that I thought I had paid it off. She said that I needed to pay them by the end of the month to avoid being taken to court. Should I assume this is a scam for sure?

The collector must send you a written “validation notice” telling you how much money you owe within five days after they first contact you. The notice must include the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money. Consider it a red flag if the collector hasn't (or won't) send you a written notice.

I have made a major mistake I recieved a call fromr Terrick Turner today. Unfortunately I eas in shock.and gave him my.info including card numne,address and email what do I do now?

If you gave your credit card or bank account number to someone you don't trust you can call them back and cancel the transcaction or all your bank or credit card company and ask what to do.

I got a call today from the same person. Sounded really weird so I looked into it.

I just got a call yesterday from tylor mills from Williams pratt young associates too. 734-224-6639. they said I owe them $2767.they said they will summons and arrest me.I'm asking a copy or email me the about the money I owe but the said I sent it last month September.

Ha!!! Scam !!! I live in that area and there's a Kroger, as dollar tree, a liquor store, a beauty shop all in that area. The actual address is for the liquor store.

they are at it again. 2107444130 mary ellen, jackie are just some of the names i spoke to. they refused to give an address, lic number, said they where affidavit investogator processing company with some attorny offce. Icalled the payday loan company and they are dispersing me a letter that states i have never had a loan with them. they are dishing threats and are not very smart when it comes to backing up those threats. its redicolus

that is just horrible to hear about this scam but received a letter stating that they were with the St.Bernard tax office and that I owe tax money to this town idk what is going on because this year is the first year that I was even able to file and do not know where this mysterious money that I owe is coming from and since I'm new to this whole tax thing it scared the living crap out of me I'm only 20 and this year is the first year that I even rented an apartment but now they are saying that I owe them some money and was freaking out because they were saying that if I don't pay I will have a warrent for my arrest and I have never had anything on my record ever and am worried I'm glad that I am the type of person to do research on literally everything and just decided to look it up...

Austin Burke (Chief Verification Officer),  Federal Trade Commission. (202)-280-7341 This person gas been harnessing me for the last month. I don't know if it's real or not. I'm told that I don't pay I'll be arrested. What do I do? 12/24/14

Hi, Tanya,

I work for the Federal Trade Commission, and I can assure you that there is no Austin Burke or Chief Verification Officer here. And the FTC will never call you to collect money or threaten arrest.  The best thing to do is hang up on the scammer and report your experience at www.ftc.gov/complaint. You also might want to ask your phone service provider about blocking that phone number. Be sure to ask if there are any fees for blocking it.

Nicole, I keep getting recorded calls from a number outta VA, USA, telling me I am being investigated in check fraud. They leave phone number and claim number in recording I haven't written them down, they never use my name and refer to another party of which I don't understand what they call them, then say this is my official warning. I call the number which called me n I get a Verizon message the number is changed or no longer in service. What do I do? Help please

Hi, Richard,

The best thing to do is file a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint and ignore any additional calls you get. You also can look into call blocking solutions. Your phone carrier might be able to block the number, but first ask if there is a fee for blocking. Our article Phone Scams has additional info that might be helpful.

i accidentally gave (a possibly scam debt collector THE LAST 4 DIGITS OF MY SS#,), did i screw up?

It's always better to keep personal and financial information to yourself. If you give out personal information, like your Social Security number, plus financial information, like a bank account or credit card number, someone might misuse that information.

Go to identitytheft.gov for more about what to do if someone has taken your information and misused it.

Yep.. The last 4 number's are unique to you. If someone found out where you were born at (where SS card was issued) than thats all they need, for instance, my ss card was obtained in Nebraska (508) which is 508-XX-XXXX..

My son called me concerned he received a harassing call from Tammy Stewart with Mediation Check Fraud Dept of Washington County. Advised him he will be subpoena to appear in reference to a check fraud case in my name with JP Morgan. provided him with my name and case number for me to call her at 866-594-3180! I do not use my children information on any business dealings. I then received a call from 971-245-3463.Message from same woman leaving same case number and 866 stating I will be served if I do not respond to this message. I decided to record my callback to see if legit. I researched the above advise to obtain info. 1st call "Tammy Stewart" answered asked name and case number. adv would not provide, recevd vm and what was the name of company, address etc.. she became escalated and kept repeating ma'am do you want to know what this is about. I told her we would get to it but first I had questions to confirm company info, she said fine you will be served and then you will find out what is about and hung up on me. 5 callbacks to voicemail. LVM stating reporting to attorney general. She answered on CB. provided an address 90 W 500 S, Suite 364, Bountiful, Utah 84010. then she hung up when I asked for direct line not 866.Researched address its a UPS Store! Not a business or official office of Washington County. CB and LVM stating due to unprofessional nature of call leads me to believe scam. Advised TS I will be reporting information provided to FTC, Attorney General and filing scam report with local officials in Bountiful to investigate fraud activity using UPS Store PO Box. Stated I was officially notifying her to remove my and family members numbers from her solicitation list unless she wanted legal action filed on her behalf.

These are useful details for a complaint. Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information goes into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments aren't entered in the database.

I received 2 emails from the same Austin Burke as well as someone claiming they are from Washington state attorneys office so I contacted the states attorneys office and found out its a scam which I figured it was when I informed the fraudster that I was talking to my attorney over the email stating an arrest warrant was out in my name. He hung up on me but I continue to get calls frim Georgia, Texas, Florida, and California. Its always same person with Indian accent.

Is there a office of Atlantic there number is 18664177218 I asked for them to send me papers they won't and there address they say they can't give out that ibformation they had some other number call me and threaten me

Report any problems you have with a debt collector to your state your state Attorney General’s office, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau The article Fake Debt Collectors provides tips to help you handle calls like the one you describe.

same thing is happening with me. I first got a call from 3105961417 she states she is just a locator and for more info call the 866#, I called and spoke to a man. Now the same man is calling from the 310 # threatening to take me to court. Offices of Atlantic are posted on numerous scam websites,i called and asked multiple times for an address & website and everytime I get hung up on and they refuse to mail any paperwork. one of my friends were harassed and got scared and gave her debit card over the phone, her bank did research on them and they stated they are most definitely a scam. their complaints are also on the BBB site and they are not legit, don't be afraid, do not answer their calls just let them call you all they want to they cant do anything. they cannot report to credit bureaus because they are fraud.

I got email i owe this company and they ace cash and i owe 8000 but settle 546.00 and they had number to call but wont answer phone than threaten to forward my case and said see me in court

If you really have a debt with the company, the debt collector has to send you a written “validation notice” telling you how much money you owe. He has to send it within five days after he first contacts you.

This FTC article tells about your debt collection rights.

If you don't have a debt with the company, the person who called might be a fake debt collector.  If someone wants you to pay a debt you don't recognize and won't answer the phone, he might be a fake. He might threaten you and try to scare you into sending money. Read about what to do if a fake debt collector calls.

Hi. I got a message from 855 729 0747,claiming its central dept of legal services, they left me a voicemail regaurding some legal documents/court date, that was undeliverable to a previous address im no longer there. Everytime I call the office no one picks up and for me to leave a message. Can you help me if this is a scam.

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