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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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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.
Skwow
January 28, 2020
We've been receiving these "order of process" calls for a few weeks now on our landline, my cell and my wife's cell. First the calls were intended for some weird name I never heard of, but now it's a combination of my last name and my wife's ex-husband's last name. The calls originate from all over the country and the numbers the message says to call vary also. The one constant is the case number, 203822. I just tried calling one of the numbers but blocked mine by dialing *67 first. The man who answered refused to say the name of the company or what their business was unless I told them the case number. I refused because I don't want to tip them off in any way. Here are some of the numbers the calls originated from: 607-203-0854, 505-587-6048, 702-718-7116. Two of the numbers the message said to call were: 304-873-8244 and 307-228-6562. By the way, the message goes on with a threat to contact my place of employment. That should be fun because I'm self-employed.
jaywill164
January 29, 2020
So I just received a call from a unknown caller and they left me this number ‭(888) 305-0536‬ And a file number to look up my information. They said it was a law firm and that I was going to be summoned to court if I didn’t settle a credit card dating back from 2010-2015 which was sent to an old address I had in 2009. They also said if I went to court i would have to pay $5,000 + or I could settle for $2,000 and make payments. When I tried to ask for them to send me information in the mail he told me it’s already been sent. The Guy also gave me my DOB and social security number and asked to verify if it was me...... so I hung up. I don’t remember a credit card I got that long ago but I’m also scared of getting into trouble. What should I do?
GREG
January 30, 2020
I got a phone call and voicemail from a local number telling me this is a complaint against my sister from a law firm (they did not leave the name of the law firm, only their number) and they left a case number for her to reference when she calls them. I thought it was a scam call and jokingly sent the voicemail to my sister. She responded that she also got the call and she called them back and that she is being sued for not paying a credit card from 2008 and I was called because I co-signed. Mind you, in 2008, I was in the 8th grade, but they told her the address we were living at in 2008, her SSN, and her current state ID driver's license number that was used (in 2008 she lived in a different state). I tried to look up the numbers that were given and called from, and I could not find anything on the internet. Could this be legit or even identity theft?
SAhmed02
February 04, 2020
These people keep calling me from a legitmate law firms office number but its not the actual law office calling. These people are trying to "collect a debt" but each time I ask for a written statement to validate the debt and send money in, they state they need the entire amount and cannot wait for a payment. I told them they were not legitimate. They proceed to threaten me with calling the sheriffs dept. And even threatening law enforcement to come to my work. They've called people Im associated with including best friends, co workers, and even my work place. Number one, a debt collector cannot call a business place threatening things like that. Im not stupid. I told them to send the law because I wanted to turn them in for fraudulent activities. Funny...cause Ive yet to see anyone at work or at home.
Pie
February 05, 2020
I received a call from a 754-240-9147 number for the last who days and they left a voicemail saying they is complaint against me and I need do some actions right away if not they have a case against me and the case number also and on the I need to call a different number it’s an 888-315-8536 that I need to and they a case number too. Is this or what today I another on the same the 754 number that I have only 24 hrs to answer or they will do the necessary actions against me they said and what me to call this 888 315 8536 again with that case number. What will I do
CV
February 13, 2020
I have received 3 voicemails from ‭+1 (281) 918-4361‬ which is a non fix VOIP number. A man who calls himself Alex says there is possible legal action against me and if I don’t call them back at 1-888-241-3424 within 24 hours I will be marked as non compliant and legal action may proceed without me. It’s has been 2 weeks of these calls so the 24 hours is a red flag along with the non listed numbers. I will not initiate contact with him. Pretty sure it’s a scammer. I haven’t done anything that would involve legal action. I’ll believe it is legitimate if a Sheriff’s deputy delivers me papers.
Drgnintx
February 14, 2020
Keep getting restricted calls .they finally left voicemail saying my wife owes a debt. Asked for validation to be mailed to me.lady on the phone cursed me out said debt was over a year old and they don't have to say validation cursed me out some more. On voicemail They said they were from thomas and partners. Called thomas and partners which is a investment firm to let them know a scammer is using their name.
Madmommy
February 17, 2020
I recieved a call from a private number they were asking all kinds of info I hung up on them. They called back left a message 8664759738 saying they were trying to deliver legal documents and filing against me I needed to call today and they were coming to see me Wednesday! I called the number they answer skyline I asker Rodger who answers what was there address he got so aggressively rude with me and refused the information??? Wow guess they don’t like you flipping it in them
Another one
February 20, 2020
So i just got a call from a coworker saying that this 8449506254 number called my phone looking for a family member that does not work there. This os the second time it happend and i told them that not to call and that this was fake. They were very rude and hung up twice when i asked to talk to someone higher. If there are scammer willing to go this far why is there no law to protect people against this
Insight
February 21, 2020
Question-- I routinely ignore so called collection calls because my bad debts usually were from 2011 (unless I accidentally answered a call a few years later and 'restarted the debt clock' I believe they've all expired by now (7+ yrs)... What few written letters I've gotten mention by law that they they have to make that statement...) But I just caught a legitimate call where they had already been granted the right to garnish because I had answered a call in 2015... So now I am getting calls from Capital Reassurance and I don't know if it's a scam entirely, they really have the right to ask me to make a statement or if it's a trick to try and get me to restart the clock from something that otherwise expired. If I take your advice and request a written document wouldn't that 1. Restart the clock because I would be acknowledging the debt and 2. Wouldn't it be giving them my current address (which they likely don't have isn't that giving them more power to come after me in collections if it hasn't expired?) How do I get more information out of an unknown caller without restarting the 7 year clock? Thank you. Please someone let me know if I have to make a new question somewhere or if it's sufficient to leave this here in a comment.
FTC Staff
June 17, 2020

In reply to by Insight

If you have old debts, a debt collector might not be able to sue you to collect on the debt. But the debt collector is still allowed to contact you about an old debt. Usually, state law determines how long the statute of limitations lasts on a debt. 

The FTC article about time-barred debts explains what you can do if a collector calls about an old debt. 

MzSmoov
February 25, 2020
8667440562 has started back calling me after several months talking about they are a law firm that does not exist
DGKK831
February 27, 2020
‭+1 (650) 318-1341‬ was a number I received a call from saying it’s from meyers litigation services. They called from that #, and also from Connecticut and Delaware. I have no clue what that could be because they just call and leave a random message which is cut 1/2 at times. It’s very frustrating.
LadyM2020
February 27, 2020
New calls coming from an 855 number claiming to be some firm called Wellington. The person harrassing me is named Alexis Collins. Some guy named Micheal stupidly gave up the last name. Second time this has happened. And they have contacted my daughter first, whom I never use in any personal dealings.
Andrew P
February 28, 2020
18883203124(bogus debt collector) First my mother called me saying the police are looking for me for theft, they impersonated a police officer, then when I call them they pretend their a law firm wanting money from a debt 13 yrs ago that I knew the company had already sold off , they tried lying to me saying if I don't pay it's a criminal case not civil because of the contract I sign with said business.
Amorbella
February 28, 2020
Got a call saying I will be sued and since they can’t locate me they are going to call my place of employment and speak to my supervisor. I called back asking who they are and what they do. All she said was they are a place called liberty and it’s a law firm. Weird she had my info, but when she said who she was calling for I knew it was bull because I just recently had to file for bankruptcy and that account was included and closed, cleared. No longer be collected on, ever. I asked her why no letters, no previous calls, she wanted me to confirm my mailing address!! Sure lady! Told her it’s against the law to contact me, my employer, friends or family, I was recording the conversation. She got hostile. I hung up Name she gave: liberty Phone number. 866-590-7161
j1728
March 02, 2020
I've received a phone call along with various family members asking to verify where I live and work and even calling my work from Enterprise that I need to call immediately or documents will be served to me. They gave me a number to call back 800-294-2137 and left me a reference number. I've called the number but the mumble the first part and hear Enterprise this is Jeremy. They state I owe $1238.74 and I have 72 hours to pay them or legal action will be taken and they will show up to my home or work to serve me. This is a scam, the debt collector is trying to scare you to pay more than what is owed or you may not even owe anything at all. They have gotten all your information from a hacker of some sort with Equifax or another credit company like that.
Sweetytweety85
March 10, 2020
I got a call from 866-744-0562 saying their from Holland and levies. Said my name first then said looking for Melissa about loan fraud then said ok he will have sheriff office over to arrest melissa.
TiredTexan
March 12, 2020
I'm in Texas and been receiving calls and text from 1.888.320.3124 and other ghost numbers, this number gave threats of arrest and subpoena. They even called my sister harassing her. Very strange considering I have lived in the same house for years and anyone can find me to send documents or serve a subpoena etc. I recently paid to have my credit report cleaned up and didn't have really any major negatives on the reports but have been receiving these weird calls now and I'm tired of them so if they can not identify themselves properly or follow the law then what are you suppose to do. I now ignore or block all numbers I do not know as a scam because I'm tired of the scammers.
bcclemmons
March 12, 2020
received a phone call from 775-200-7845 (Reno, NV) claiming to be clear view mediation out of california - they knew my name and last 4 of my social security number (wanted me to verify if it was correct and i would not do so) - they told me they were not able to discuss anything with me if i would not verify the last four of my social and did i want to end up in court - i told them if they had something to send me to do so via mail or police - they asked me if i had ever been sued before because that was what was going to happen if i did not cooperate with them - i told them to go ahead and proceed with whatever they had to do seriously what the heck is this?!
CindyR
March 15, 2020
No phone call but rec'd an e-mail re:cash advance, re-pay over due. I have never taken out out ANY cash advance, anywhere! Threatened with legal action! Remit payment in 2 hrs. This was on March 6th.
Hjthorne
September 10, 2021

In reply to by kzad

Got the same email saying I owed over $500 on a payday loan. I asked them what payday loan they couldn’t tell me, I said please send me documents to prove I took out this loan, they said they already did, I said never received send again, never got anything. They kept saying that I was going to have to go to court and I would be served with a subpoena, never was. They finally stopped with the emails when they realized I wasn’t falling for their scam.
Brian
March 19, 2020
Got a call yesterday that was "no caller id" and then they called my sister-in-law Saying they're with a law firm LDS and they have papers to serve me with. Today same thing. Called me with no caller id. I don't answer calls that block their number. Then they called my brother in law and left a voice mail. This time they said they are from OLA associates. I asked where they were located (Cali) and while talking to her her googled both numbers who called my in laws and nothing. Googled OLA and nothing came up. I kept asking her what the law firm was and she would say these impossible names as the atts in the firm. I said.. Send me what you have in a certified letter and I'll look at it. She said they can take care of this debt right now for half. She then said she'd email me the info. I said sure. And that I'll discuss with my brother who's a judge. (he really is) I didn't receive email yet.
obvious
March 20, 2020
They keep calling from different number asking for the same info, to enter the last four of my social in order to continue. This is a scam, please do something.
concerned
March 24, 2020
Receiving emails from Jefferson Associates & Law Firm regarding a Speedy Cash loan, see below The above invoice for $1840.00 has recently become overdue for payment. As such, we would appreciate you making this payment as soon as possible. If we do not hear from you within 12 hours of the date on this letter, we will be compelled to seek legal representation from our company Attorney. We reserve the right to commence litigation for intent to commit wire fraud under the pretence of refusing to repay a debt committed to, by use of the internet. It seems apparent that you have chosen to ignore all our efforts to contact you in order to resolve your debt with Payday Services. At this point you have made your intentions clear and have left us no choice but to protect our interest in this matter. If there is an error on our part and payment has been made, please contact us immediately so that the matter can be rectified. Otherwise, if there is a problem paying this amount owing, please contact us so that an alternative arrangement for payment can be made. Despite my previous reminders, the above invoice for $1840.00 remains unpaid. As such, we would appreciate you making this payment as soon as possible. We regret to advise that unless payment is received by today this invoice will be passed over to our debt collection agency/lawyer. This could seriously affect your credit rating so We urge you contact us immediately to make payment or arrange an alternative before this date. Settlement Options/Outside Of Court Settlement (O.O.C.S): Settlement Amount: $1840.00 Payment Plan: $184.00 x 10 Payments Offer In Compromise: $950.00 Today Payment Mode: Online Click here to send us email for Settlement Call Us Now Attorney Mark Johnson (Recovery Department) Jefferson Associates & Law Firm Account Settlement | FDCPA | Jefferson Associates & Law Firm © 2019 CONFIDENTIAL: ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGED; ATTORNEY WORK PRODUCT: Emails and attachments received from us may be protected by the attorney-client privilege, as attorney work-product or based on other privileges or provisions of law. If you are not an intended recipient of this email, do not read, copy, use, forward or disclose the email or any of its attachments to others. Instead, immediately notify the sender by replying to this email and then delete it from your system. We strictly prohibit any unauthorized disclosure, copying, distribution or use of emails or attachments sent by us.
CMarsh
April 27, 2020
I have had this guy calling every now and again for years that knows my address , family, have contacted my family, social security number, place of work.... wanting to deliver a package but won’t meet at the sheriffs dpt to deliver. Anytime I tell them I’m tracing a call they hang up.
hobbes3
April 30, 2020
I've been getting scam calls from "law firms" attempting to collect a debt or else I'll be served, for a long time at my office and on my cell. Today I got a new one (and they're upping their game - it didn't sound like an obvious recording) on my cell from a "Restricted" number. They left a message, then immediately called my landline and left the same message: "Hi, I'm calling for {my 1st and last name.} This is Nicole from the litigation department working with {a county in my state - but not the one in which I live} and unfortunately, we have a judgment against you that will be filed tomorrow morning. If you have any questions or concerns, please call Thomas Partners Associates at 951-228-9891 and mention case #72576." I immediately looked up the phone number which is a landline in Riverside, CA that belongs to a woman with several aliases. I looked up Thomas Partners Associates and this post on the FTC website was the first thing that came up. Needless to say, I won't be calling back.
Newbambi
May 11, 2020
Has anyone heard of whitmore and associates I can’t find a website for them and I believe I’m being scammed I’ve paid them 100.00 they have all my personal info and kept threatening to take me to court. Please can anyone instruct me as to what to do?
Peachlane
May 13, 2020
Some people called me just now with age or eager and associate but I dont own any loans or taxes I just hung up on them when I went to look them up it said they were a fraud
Won't be scammed
May 16, 2020
"UAA law office" is calling me non stop. They have some personal information and some very old information that is no longer valid. They have a claim number and stated that they were authorized to settle on a 10 year old debt for a fraction of what I owed otherwise I would receive a summons to go to court in a state I don't even live in. She asked if there was a family member that could help me pay the $5400 settlement amount. They also contacted me on a Saturday, what law firm is open on Saturday, especially during covid19? I was unable to find any information on this being a legitimate law firm, only information from countless others claiming the same type of threatening calls from a non existent company. The phone number that is calling me is 831-276-0060 and they said they were in LA county
HeavenLee
May 19, 2020
I kept getting calls and they'd leave a message, saying this is a legal matter.... Today, they texted me info below: This text is from ARS. We have a legally required noticed for (had my name here). Please text back or call in with your legal representation to discuss your documentation. 1-833-637-0199 and refer to file# XXXXXXX. Thank you. I have not replied or responded back because I figured it was spam call and now text. After reading your info here, I'm now convinced it is a scam.
kcars1976
May 21, 2020
I along with 3 family members received a call from Kylie Brooks at 855-384-9847. She claimed they were trying to service me papers and that I needed to call them immediately and left a claim number. I called them to see what they had to say (knowing it was probably a scam) and I spoke to "Atty" Lisa Green. I told her to send me the paperwork backing up the claim that I owe them money and she said they wouldn't as I could falsify the document before court. I asked for her Attorney License Number and she said it is not a number that she needs to supply. I asked for the name of the business and I was told Pretrial claim services. I tried to look them up online and there is not a website.
Erika0718
May 22, 2020
I received a voice mail from a man claiming to be an independent finder named Mr Tyler Davis back in beginning of March. Said he received court sealed documents on his desk. He had my last four digits of my social security number and said he would come to my place of business or my home and stated almost the exact address I used to live at. Then he said I needed two forms of identification to show him proof it was me so he could deliver the documents. Or I could call the number attached to the file to put a stop order in. The number to call was 844-217-9685. I tried calling the number after hours and the machine comes on stating they were EAG and associates. No idea who they or a Mr Davis is. I never received any legalized document in person or by mail. So I knew better than to call that number back. I do not pick up the calls by the numbers I don't recognize or if it says scam caller. But I want to report this guy as well as many other calls I've gotten about my student loans. I keep getting calls from all different out of state numbers at all different times of the day. It drives me crazy. Please put a stop to this madness ASAP. Thank you for reading my comments.
S0UNDGUY
May 27, 2020
Is this real? They text non stop and call my work telling me to call an 833 number they won’t respond to a debt validation request There are dozens of ARS collections but they won’t say what theirs is. This is what they send. This text is from ARS. We have a legally required noticed for #######. Please call or text with your attorney to discuss your case.While calling back refer to file# ###### 1-833-474-0160
Jasha17
May 29, 2020
They contacted my sister, apparently a law firm called Trident Everson & Associates claiming I need to call back immediately, I did after work, they was saying I owned money from 2011 to a bank that I was making fraud and that I need to make a payment of 1,618.00 if I want to avoid court costs. I don't even know if this law firm is real, I make them a 1st payment but I really don't know if is a legit law firm or not and I don't know how to resolve is very little the information in the internet about them. I never committed fraud or all the things he was alleged. But I remember I had an acct with that bank long time ago. I am really confunsed how I should proceed.