Skip to main content

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.

 

394 Comments


It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

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.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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.

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.
Bzstarr
December 12, 2019
A so called law firm out of new york is claiming I owe a payday loan..they want me to wire money to a bank of America account.I live in ohio..have you ever heard of a law firm asking for wired money..they can they don't take credit debit cards
Monroe tvoon't…
December 18, 2019
Got several calls from a private number, thought it was a job. It turns out it was some random person saying she was going to serve me legal documents today by 3pm didn't say where " just your location". Then gave me a phone number 844 941 0422 law firm with case number. I asked her from what company she says just call that number they will provide me details. Suspicious to me everything I ask no direct answers. Please be aware.
Marypad43
December 18, 2019
A company named sawyer and associates called said they are in ontario saying i owed a speigal account with first consumer national bank and i never had a speigal account their number is 18779211483
Lostforwords
December 20, 2019
I received a letter in the mail for wage garnishment, they had an employer listed who is actually training me right now. They don’t hire you till you complete the certification process, so there isn’t pay. The wage garnishment amount stated 1,000 a month is going to be taken and there is even a docket number with my counties civil court division. I have never had this debt, and upon calling they said it was from 2007 (a credit card) and the amount owed is 3,000.00. They are a law firm that’s known to mass execute these debts. They sent an electronic communication to my address in 2014. I didn’t live at that address in 2014. Also, they obtained the employers info because they’re a law firm and they have their ways, but refused to tell me how. I don’t understand how they got it, until I asked someone who works for the “employer” “training location”, and she said they did a background check on me. Did they sell my information to the “law firm”, the background check company? Or did the law firm buy my information from them? This is not right! Nor ethical! Pressler law firm, can’t do this, but yet had a docket number and I’m told is already allotted to dock me. Are they a scam?
frustrated
December 30, 2019
Number 937-684-4685, called my sister and when I called them they announced themselves as Hudson Rossmoore, then asked if I was counsel. Stated she was not in trouble but please have her call them.
JohnSHTX
January 08, 2020
My mother received a call from a Brian Holloway that started that I needed to go into a court room and file a disposition in a matter. Then he left this phone number to call back 855.281.9527 which leads to a company posing as P & R litigation. I called the number back because this really upset my mother and me at the same time then I looke up P and R litigation online and this is the group that followed me here. They are a scam and they are scaring my mother how did they get my mother’s cell phone number and why do they not have my number? This is a complete lie and a mistrust in the law please stop these people because they are violating my civil rights and that of my mother as well. Please fight this company and let me know if this person is legit or if they are a fake company. Thank you, John S HTX
PRH1984
January 08, 2020
Received a call today on my cell phone form a local number claiming to have received a case to be filed against me and they were coming to my address between 35 tomorrow and if I was not available that I needed to call 214-396-3793 and to considered my self notified of a court case. I called the local number and it was a fax number so I call the other number and they proceeded to tell me about a a case that was going to be filed and if i was not home to sign the paper that it would be an automatic notice to appear and the judge would rule in their favor. They first said it was done and 2016 and when I had explained to them that I was incarcerated at that time they then said well it can go back to 12-24 months.
ABC
January 13, 2020
Originally called from a 855-478-5693 and now they call from an unknown number. They spew out a SSN for whomever they are calling and have case number. I personally don't have bad credit or any judgements, so I know this is false.
toothbrush
January 14, 2020
I received a call from (833)781-7705 telling me they are a law firm and that there is a law suit been filed against me. I asked her where she was she is in California. She would not give me the name of the company. I was transferred to a Sylvia Mendez. This woman had my social security number telling me she would only give me the information if I answered a few question. If not they would send it to my home. I told her tp hold on so I could call the Federal Trade Commission. The call was disconnected. These people are scammers. They can practice their criminal activity but to have my social security number is troubling.
Nikki
January 15, 2020
Today I received a call from a women at work, that said she worked for a courier service. She said I needed to be home to sign for an important lawsuit notice. She asked if I would be home at 9am to sign for document. I told her no, I have to work. She gave me a 813 number to call. I called the number to see what was going on. The company said they were with Wilkens and Associates. They knew my name, date of birth and where I worked. They asked the last 4 digits of my social number. They told me I was in the process of getting sued by St. Lucie Medical Group LLC for a 2009 medical bill. They said if I paid $1185..... and settle debt I would be fine. If I waited, when they take me to court I will have to pay $2009....... She said they will garnish my paychecks. I am so worried because I gave her part of my Social security number. I hope no Fraud or identity theft come from this.
Sunshinny
January 16, 2020
We received a call about a case. They had all my husbands info. He called back and they said someone was using his SS# to purchase items in SOCAL. Then they would send us papers to confirm we are not this person. We have locked credit. They shouldn't be able to get any credit. I am concerned this is a scam.
tito
January 23, 2020
Has anyone received a call from Skyline? about an Ace payday loan?
Jessica
January 27, 2020
I got a call from a lady name Nicole Johnson they called with a blocked / unknown number and said something about court papers and that I should call them back at 855-385-6974? I googled the number and seen nothing under this number even this person? I never bother calling this person back? Is this a scam? Thank you
Cailinjanel
February 05, 2020

In reply to by Jessica

Same thing here, just answered a call from a private number and he said would I be home tomorrow to receive legal docs, he never said where he was calling from and I asked him what the papers were and he said he doesn't know that he can't open the packet but to call 855-385-6974 and he gave me some case number. I am worried because my credit isn't great and I do owe some debt collectors but from all the previous comments I've read it sounds like this is a scam or scare tactic.