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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 at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. With your help, we’re finding the bad guys and putting them out of business.

 

408 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

SO over it.
August 02, 2019
I have been receiving the same scam call about a supposed unpaid medical bill from 2007. The guy said if I didn't pay off $1007.42 (oddly specific) then I would be served with a lawsuit the next day. I told them to go ahead and sue me and he hung up. And what da ya know I wasn't served or sued! BUT that has not stopped their incessant calling, and now they are calling my family members. Luckily their numbers are coming up as Scam Likely on caller id on most of my families phones. Sheesh, how do you stop them from calling? Blocking doesn't seem to work they just change their 1-800 number. Such a violation.
Jenni
August 14, 2019
Got a voice mail from Kylee Johnson 877 350 5017 ext 116. Stating that their is some judgements against me before a warrant is issued than they called my brother threaten him. This is American Elite I left a very profane language that if they ever call again they will see a real court house with real lawyers
Ladybug
August 15, 2019
The yesterday I recieved a message on a business line at work. Stating I need to call back they were special investigator Swan Davis investigating a fraud case. I figured maybe it was about one of our students or someone trying to get information. I called the cell phone number I looked it up on reverse White pages. It went straight to voicemail. I left a message stating sorry I can't release any information with out proper documentation. So today same number called stating. Returning your call about a fraud case on my voicemail. I called the number back and the lady answered. She tells me the case is about you. She states I am hired by capital litigations and we are giving you a courtesy call before we have you arrested for fraud for not paying a payday loan in 2014. And we have contacted your hr department and we are going to notify them of your arrest. And someone in your position does not want that. And I said I never taken out a loan. They kept trying to get me to pay amount. I asked for a written notification of this debt. They stated it's too late for that and we are about to process this in the state of md if you pay 275.00 we will drop all charges. I said I will call my HR department and my attorney. Because I don't owe a debt. She said you are going to be arrested and bail is 5000.00. I said do what you got to do. She said their firm was representing Northstar lending. I called my hr department and assured me that things don't happen this way and it was a scam. I looked up and there is no one called Capitol litigations but I found blogs on a scammer using this in 2011. They also tried this with my mom a few years ago calling about me.i pulled my credit report and nothing is on there.
Austin N.
August 19, 2019
I got an email from Jefferson Associates and Law Firm stating that I took a loan out from Speedy Cash (Adv. America) but I’ve never taken a loan out in my life. I’m wondering if anyone has any info or has been contacted by the same firm before or not. I’m not sure if it’s fake or fraudulent or if there’s any action I should take. I’ve never dealt with this before, and I know it may sound silly to ask. I’d appreciate it’s though.
Max74
August 21, 2019
They are still calling and harassing me, two days in a row. They are a " Legal" organization calling me trying to confirm the information on one of my family members. I simply asked them, "what does my family members legal matter have to do with me". They don't have an answer because there isn't one. These people are rude, and I been called them back from my business phone system so the calls are recorded from my end. I have the names of each person I spoke with and the one representative (Nicole) specifically went against my wishes and called me two days in a row, after I told her to remove my number from their database. Thus needs to stop!
karibintx
August 21, 2019
My mom, my sister and now a friend I haven't talked to in FIFTEEN years have gotten these calls... 213-500-1084 is the number and I called back for them to tell me they are a financial mitigation company... They called 5 times in a row from me hanging up on them... HARASSMENT. You can't go to jail for not paying bills... You will still have the bill if you get served and don't show up... Nothing changes at all.
Momof2
September 04, 2019
Received a threatening call this morning at 7am from someone claiming to have a judgement against me. They called from an unknown number and said they were from Jacobs and Associates. I let them know I didn’t have any debt and to stop calling me. The woman proceeded to yell that she was going “send me back to where I came from” I have never been so offended in my life. For the record I am an American, have zero accent. I don’t know why she would say that. She also proceeded to tell me she was going to take away my house and my life. These people are harassing me. I literally have an amazing credit score and no debt. I’m frustrated that they keep calling. I have blocked unknown numbers but sometimes a scrabbles number comes up. I just don’t answer. I wish I could track them down to report them.
KimM
September 05, 2019

In reply to by Momof2

I received a voicemail from some woman named Michelle from Jacob and Allen Associates today. She also left a message on my mothers voicemail saying she was looking for me. On both messages she says ““Hi this message is for _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ my name is _Michelle I work in the customer support department working in conjunction with the _county clerks⁠_ office I'm calling regarding a judgment order process against you if you have any questions or concerns please contact _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ Jacob and Allen Associates _ area code 210-346-8977 Please reference case number ———-thank you and have a good day…” The fact that she gave that information up to not just me but also a family member seems like it would be bogus. Isn’t it illegal for a debt collector to tell a family member why they’re calling without being prompted? My credit report shows no such debt and my score is really good. Any bad debt I would have had is 10 or more years old. I paid off any old debts prior to buying my house last year. I googled Jacob and Allen Associates and came up blank. I don’t know, it doesn’t seem legit to me.
Jnegron
September 09, 2019
I received a letter some months ago about a credit card debt that I owe. In the letter there were different options for me to choose in order to resolve the debt. I paid monthly however I am now receiving a new letter from another law firm about the same debt. Now they are charging more. I feel like the first letter might have been a scam but I would like to speak with someone in regards to this. I don't know what to do next and who to trust.
Steve in Florida
September 10, 2019
We have been getting calls being harassed by unknown caller for a debt that the statute of limitations has run out on. Telling us we owe $7200.00 about 12 times as much as the original debt on a Walmart credit card. Saying they are going to send a process server. In the County where we live all civil litigation service is handled by the Country Sheriff’s office. I know this for a fact I have had to file a suit against a creditor after an accident where they took more than they were supposed to after a accident. Anyhow I tried to explain this to them they got very rude threatening and nasty. This was a very old written off debt sent to collections over 9 years ago. My wife’s debt not mine . They even gave me all the supposed information they never gotten permission to speak with me about this debt from my wife. The calls continue to come in I don’t answer or I pick up then never say a word until they hang up. This needs to stop.
NEReed1024
September 12, 2019
They’re taking this way too far! They had an old work address and called me on my phone as if the County of L.A. was looking to serve me. First of all the city doesn’t call you before they serve you court papers. Why? The know where you live and where you work. The ‘County’ gave me the number to the attorney that was trying to serve me . I called them and they said they were suing me to collect a debt from a Wells Fargo credit card used from 2006 to 2009. I’ve never had a Wells Fargo credit card and if I did, this so called ‘balance’ I owed would be charged off already. PLUS, I know for a fact, this isn’t on my credit report. I guess I’ll wait to be served..... ha!!!
Randy M
September 12, 2019
This company called repeatedly using a robo to read a lengthy script for someone not even at this phone number. I pressed and held the # key down during one of these recordings and it put me on hold with a receptionist soon answering and identifying her company as TRISTAR LEGAL FIRM. When I asked her to put me on her do not call list, she said she wouldn't waste her time doing that and hung up on me. Phone number on caller id was 855-201-1512
Carl
October 17, 2019

In reply to by Randy M

Got a call from TRISTAR LEGAL PROCESSING. A Nikki Baxter (Sounded like a man for half the robo call) She said I was being summoned for fraud and deception of a credit card from 2013 with HSBC. We have never had an HSBC account. A Miss IVY SIMPSON called and said to call her at 855-219-6794 x108.(She also gave a made up case number) I called and when I started asking questions she hung up. I called back and she said that if i didn't pay 50% of the 6472.00 by 5:00 they were sending a process locator to serve me a summons. I said ok then she said she would call my work. She had all my information...work info, ss#. She said I would also get my drivers license suspended if i didn't pay. I told her I knew she was scamming me and she got mad and stared being very threatening and harassing
IL
September 16, 2019
received a letter from Imperial Law group saying similar things that I owed debt for NSA with Checkmate. Haven't done payday loan in over 8 years. Know that I took care of it before I stopped using their service. Now I receive this letter and has link to their website. I didn't call them just responded to through their message portal. Haven't gotten a response. It has passed the due date and when I look at their website and put in the case information it has my ss# and home address. It says my case is being processed in court and to pay right away. I sent information to FTC and Attorney General. AG sent request for more information from them. When I look at their physical address in google maps it shows a post office building. Not sure what to believe here.
Super annoyed
September 18, 2019
8553353482 keeps calling saying they have fax documents for my husband. When I called back before nobody answered. Today a lady finally answered but said nobody was available and I need to quit calling after hours. I told her this was the first call today. She said I have been trying to leave for the day and you ha e kept calling so I answered. I said ive only called this once. She said no, you have called 3 times, if thats all you need then goodbye. And she hung up on me. I did get out of her she is supposedly with Tristar Legal Services. I feel this is a scam. My sister-in-law, son, husband and myself have all gotten the same call with no answers to why.
Deli
September 23, 2019
Thank you for this. Today I received a call from an unknown caller stating that they were trying to serve me legal papers. I was confused and called the number that they gave me for 'the issuing attorney' Hudson & Rossmoore 1-833-637-1711. Long story short, they said to call 1-800-432-3117 (supposedly Chase Visa) to pay a debt with CHASE from 2010 or they would serve me legal papers this week. I told them that this was not my debt and that there's a statue of limitation in California for lawsuits regarding debts. They said that Chase had some clause in their contract that it did not apply to and to call that number and ask for the charge off department to settle. I contacted my own attorney immediately and it was confirmed that this is a SCAM. Please be aware. They were VERY persuasive and charismatic, and they had brought up a debt that I had already paid off back in 2013. They had just enough info to almost be convincing. BEWARE of these scammers. DO NOT give them any information or money. Their trick was to have me call the different numbers this time and to use a past debt for a Chase account that I had paid off years ago.
Concerned and …
September 24, 2019
Hi I have been getting debts paid off through debt collector agencies and I received a email from a proposed lawyer that states I have four hours to settle up and pay the account in full. I have made all of the payments on time according to the agreements I have with my companies I deal with and now I’m not sure what to do. The email sounds so real but I know it could possibly be a scam as well. I don’t want to be at work and be served or go to jail for not responding to this email. They have all my information that’s what’s more concerning.
M Stewart
September 25, 2019
I was contacted by a law firm claiming they had a judgement against me for over $2000. They claimed they sent me a notice and there was nothing I could do to keep them from getting their money. They were rude, threatening, and extremely sure of themselves. After some investigation I was assured there was never an account opened at the institution under my name and social security number. These people were determined though to force a payment from me.
Dorie
November 10, 2019

In reply to by M Stewart

These were scammers pretending to be lawyers. Actual debt collection lawyers know the laws. If they're legit, they'll provide you proof in writing that u owe the debt and they will also follow the actual guidelines of debt collection because they know that they can be sued if they don't.
Bgam89
September 26, 2019
I just received a call from sarah Marshall at Premier Legal Support from a restricted number demanding I pay a delivery fee for court documents to be mailed to me. She couldnt tell me what the case involved or even what company was pressing charges. She then informed me if I didn't validate my full social and pay the fee, I would have an arrest warrant out. I have never been in any legal trouble nor do i have anything outstanding, so I promptly hung up. BEWARE!!!
Annoyed with calls
September 27, 2019
"Carol Mitchel from Davidson and associates have a case in our office for you or your attorney to each out to us or we will take action"so fake they keep leaving voicemails and their phone number leads to a filled mailbox the number is 571-210-6895.
Sunshine
September 30, 2019
My sister keeps getting calls the person on the other line says they are looking for me and a complaint has been filed and it will be sent to the address, and they say my address, they say is there is no answer they will take further action, the mans voice is very assertive and demanding. then recently same call came to my phone but this time they are asking for my ex sister in law. My sister is now getting text messages and they are asking her to call 866 947-5975. how can we make these calls and text stop.
Heimy Higbey
October 07, 2019
CNC Debt Collectors have been harassing us. Person says he is Thomas Schmidt 843-836-2054 . It is getting out of hand. We have this person recorded harassing and threatening. Collections +1 (858) 467-7441. Please help.
FTC Staff
October 28, 2019

In reply to by Heimy Higbey

YOu can report that to the FTC at www.FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. You can also report to your state Attorney General. Look for your Attorney General on this page.

The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

JSR
October 09, 2019
This happens at the same time each year. I will receive multiple calls which are threatening or aggressive telling me that there will be legal action taken against me and that they would be coming to my home with an officer. The names this year are "Michael Powers" and "Larry Ellison." There is never any postal or email communication, only threatening phone calls either about payday loans that are not mine or federal taxes I do not owe. This year they used the Fax Line of a Police Department that is 60 miles away to make it appear that they were calling from the Police Department or part of the Police Department - how is that not illegal? But the Police Department already knows about the scam and has posted about it on the internet, so a quick search makes it easy to find. I block these numbers and report these numbers, but it is so easy for these scammers to find new numbers to call with that it just does not matter. I do not entertain these people, at all. Real debt collectors will send documentation or a letter and whatever company or organization they work for will have SOME form of presence on the internet outside of being reported on scam debt collection forums. My biggest concern is what happens to elderly folks who get calls like this - that are threatening and aggressive - who aren't sure how to look up this information?
Arseem
October 11, 2019
GLE & Associates is using a new phone number to scam seniors, 866-217-9390. A woman called my mother-in-law telling her that her grandson was being sued.
Brandesi3878
October 23, 2019
I got a call from Nichols group that has a bogus address but has my info on a 8 year old debt I had but this supposed law firm is saying they will sue me if I don't pay up, is this a joke or what ... Any one out there ever heard of this company because I look them up and I can't find anything on them, no real business info.
Lady777
October 23, 2019
I received this email from this law firm but it seems odd because they missed the o in associates lawfirm. patrickassciates @
Fiona92
October 17, 2019
I wish i seen this before. I keep getting calls since april saying that i owe thousands of dollars and if i dont pay im going to prison. I was terrified and i paid over 5,000 to these people but they never gave me proof they said they sent it but i never received it. Im scared i can go to jail, but at the same time i dont know what im paying too and it seems like they keep calling me monthly with new threats. I have the phone numbers and i even had to send money through walmart to walmart to avoid "fees" as they said. How do i find out if there really is something out there. And how can i report these people. I dont know if its legit or not. I had to send money to western union also which i have a address and name... please help!
FTC Staff
November 22, 2019

In reply to by Fiona92

The law says a debt collector must send you a written “validation notice” within five days of the first time he contacts you. That written notice must tell you:

  • how much money you owe
  • the name of the creditor you owe it to
  • what to do if you don’t think it’s your debt

A debt collector doesn't have the power to send to jail by himself becuase you owe money.  If somebody calls and threatens you about going to jail because of a debt, or tells you to wire money, he's probably a scammer.

If someone says you have a debt, tell them to send a written validation notice. Get his name, company name, address, and telephone number. If he won't send the validation notice or give you information about the company, don't pay. He's probably a fake.

Read about your debt collection rights.

DevilDog0331
October 23, 2019
I received a call today from "HUDSON & ROSSMORE". They said I owed $946 for a bad check written from my Wells Fargo account back in 2010. The lady Sophia Martinez was very nasty. She was making threats to file charges on me if I did not pay. I asked her for her phone number so I can have my attorney contact them. Well, she gave me a phone number that was not in service. I did some digging. I went to the Wells Fargo Branch and they said I owed them nothing. I came home and did some research on the Law Firm they claim to be calling from. I found several numbers that were posted on this website. I called those numbers and got Sophia Martinez on the phone. I explained to her that I went to Wells Fargo and their was no outstanding debt. Also, I explained to her that even if I owed the debt, the statue of limitations in California is 4 years. She got belligerent and started taunting. Asking why hasn't my attorney called. I said cause you gave me the wrong number. Well, she hung up on me. The only thing that concerns me in regards of this, is that they had my personal information all correct. Very scary to think that your personal info is in hands of scammers like this trying to make a buck or two.
wizardsRus
October 30, 2019
I got a call today saying that they had to hear from me today. The number they called from was different from the number they gave. They also gave a case number but I couldn’t find it in the cases online. The numbers were 18886930251 and the number they gave to call was 18332789071. I looked up the numbers but found they were reported as spam.
Bronco
November 02, 2019
Loan Recovery Jefferson Associates Law Firm Date: Sat, Nov 2, 2019 05:31. They keep emailing me wanting me to buy a prepaid visa. Is this a scam?
concern citizen
November 06, 2019
Received a call from a private number with a voicemail message to contact 844-400-5652 about an important legal matter. This is a debt collector who uses the pull off legal wording as a scare tactic in which is extremely illegal. This is not a legal defense office and violates FDIC REGULATIONS. Be aware
RB
November 12, 2019
Got a call from an unknown with a voicemail message left. As well as they called my nephew. Supposedly I took a payday loan from a company called Check and Go in 2012 and I was going to be charged with financial fraud. They also threatened to serve a summons on my nephew. They claim that I received a loan from them that was deposited into a Capital One bank account and when they tried to take payments the payments failed. They then stated that I set up payments in 2017 using a visa or mastercard number which also failed. I have never had a Capital One Bank account nor have I ever taken out payday loans from anyone or anywhere. They claim that they are a litigation firm named ARA in Fairfax VA but I cannot find any business listing for them.
kcars1976
May 21, 2020

In reply to by RB

exactly what happened to me today, but different bank and dates.
SS
November 18, 2019
Received a call tonight from a Ron Wilson, call came in as unknown. He left a voicemail In a robot voice using a version well a very messed up version of my maiden name, been married for 18 years. Anyways this is what voicemail says basically my name is RON WILSON I’m going to serve you documents on November 19 from 3-5pm if you do not sign, it will be recorded as a direct refusal and the process will continue with or without you. But you should call us back to reschedule to deliver documents at 530-364-5152 at your earliest convenience. I say go for it dude, lol 1. I didn’t have any credit or credit cards etc before I got married and 2. I think you’ve breached the statue of limitations in my state 3-fold. Knock yourself out. Ps —people if you get SERVED no one calls you to expect them there, the county you live in will just serve you. 2. Whatever county you live in you can look up civil court records if someone has filed against you it’s public record. These scammers are getting so ridiculous
speackout
November 22, 2019
I received a call today from an unknown number claiming that I was being served, they ask if I would be home and gave me a old address (which I no longer live at) then I told them "what is this regarding and they gave me another number to call, Attorney's Office, and they even gave me a fake Case number, so i called the number and they guy on the phone said he wasn't a attorney, he was just a administrative assistant. He told me that I owed a debt since 2004 for Chase Bank or Wells Fargo, (it was wired that he didn't know which one) he even had the last 4 of my SSN. Then I asked if he had documents to prove that this was indeed me and he gave me a Chase number to call, which was a phoney number NOT even chase.. I told them that my attorney will contact them and he said "I will see you in court" LOL, DO NOT believe them even if they have your SSN. They need to prove it in writing and have original documents from 2004 with my signature in order for this to be true (WHICH THEY DIDN'T) Then I looked up all the information they gave me and googled the numbers and found that it was all a scam.. Do not give them any information, just say to them that your attorney will contact them. Hope this helps!
FTC Staff
November 22, 2019

In reply to by speackout

You can report that to the FTC at www.FTC.gov/Compliants. The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

SLO
November 19, 2019
I got a call from a Tina Ross on behalf of Stenson and Sons. She claims that I have to file an electronic response if not I will be in contempt. The number she calls from is 833-781-7248. She even gives me a file id number of 1925. I don't know who this people are and what they claim I have to file.
Kridge
December 11, 2019

In reply to by SLO

I received a call from this same company by the frmaled calling said her name was Sarah Lewis. If you google the company name the are NOT BBB ACCREDITED, and the address they use belongs to a FedEx location. BEWARE OF THEM
Meljoe
November 19, 2019
We have been threatened and very harassed by these 2 phone numbers 1-844-358-2439 and his name was Kenneth directed us to call his firm at 1-279-972-4096 And we called and they want money we don’t have and threatened us with being sued please help stop them from calling us please we work everyday hard and shouldn’t be threatened
FTC Staff
November 22, 2019

In reply to by Meljoe

You can report that to the FTC at www.FTC.gov/Compliants. The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

Credit Collect…
November 20, 2019
A company called first from an CA number then called again from a SC number. The women said there was a civil lawsuit and they were going to send someone to my work to issue my court order. she then stated that I need to call 844-469-5678 and gave me a file number. She would not tell me what it was about. It seems like a scare tactic to get me to call and this practice should be punishable ny law!
FTC Staff
November 22, 2019

In reply to by Credit Collect…

You can report that to the FTC at www.FTC.gov/Compliants. The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

concerned Citizen
November 20, 2019
I googled Lewis and Goldstein, the address that the “Goldstein Litigation” company mailed me from, and this page pops up. No other business Info can be found. When a friend called the offices, the person who answered got belligerent when asked how many people they’d scammed today. Beware folks. And they try to get you to sign contracts thru DocuSign. Meanwhile my brother got the same call on the same day. They trust that you will not do your homework.
Fed up
November 22, 2019
I keep getting calls from ‭(844) 793-1304‬ saying they are a private legal firm who don’t do business with the general public but refused to give me their name, where they operate out of, or who they do business with. They threatened me and told me I was wanted for failure to accept a summons for legal documents. Scared me. They put me on hold and then got disconnected. I did some checking. If they were a legitimate legal firm they should have disclosed their name. So I called the number back and of course got a different person and she gave me the whole thing and I demanded to know the name of their firm and where they operated out of. She said I can’t demand anything. I hung up. These people have been harassing me for years. Can’t someone stop them? With the technology we have at our disposal?
FTC Staff
November 22, 2019

In reply to by Fed up

You can report that to the FTC at www.FTC.gov/Compliants. The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

Picabo22
November 27, 2019
These people called me a week ago. Came up under SPAM. I filed a FTC complaint. They go under ADT Defenders or P&R Litigations, im sure they had other company names too. They claim their auditing you, they claim your address is unavailable/ or cant locate ( lol ive had the same address for 44 yrs google it! These ppl are genius’) and their going to call your employer.. i welcome them since you can find my address that ive had for 44 yrs! These ppl are a scam!! I think what they do is look up prior debts you paid and try and recollect on them.
Jc
December 11, 2019
Is verity legal group scandalous? I believe it's a scam, in which they claim to based in California.