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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.

Willie B
May 30, 2020
One morning I received a frantic phone call from a relative about a disturbing voice message she had received. Someone impersonating a law firm made allegations of her haboring my whereabouts as if I was a fugitive on the run from law enforcement. I had no idea who or what the caller was talking about since the allegation was false. Later I received a voice message not a phone call but a direct voicemail from the same company threatening me with legal action. Again I didn't know who they were or why they were calling. I called the number (833) 495-0557 for over an hour and no one answered my calls. So I still have no idea who this person is outside of the threatening messages. If anyone is familiar with this company please reply so I can properly report them. Thank you.
Don'GJt use yo…
June 03, 2020
I got a call from 866-321-9071 telling me that they were suspending my personal information, LOL that is not such a thing. They ask for money to stop the process. Scammers
Droxy44
June 04, 2020
I received a call from 855-399-3024 saying her name was Theresa from a lawyers office, Jackson Capital. She said that they have been trying to reach me regarding a payday loan from 2015. They said they sent numerous letters which I never received. When I tried calling back the number just rings and the voicemail says Amanda Johnson. Please do not give these people any of your information!!
Mel
June 04, 2020
Received a call stating papers needed to be served to me at my address and that I needed to confirm my phone number and address where I could be served. I started receiving text messages from (206-401-8382 & 334-487-6942) that same day saying "The investigation is almost complete. MY NAME, it looks like a statement is needed before we close your file. Please call 833-628-0112 for extensions or to inform us of a location documentation should be sent to!" Then another text from 206-401-8358 similar to the above message but said, "Please call 833-628-0108 and reference 2021-15XX (all #s but omitting here) and make sure you don't miss your data". I called and got no answer but then called later in the afternoon and got through to a "Arthur Bigsby" from Hudson Legal Services. He said I was served paperwork about a Chase credit card from 2012 (my BK was discharged in 2012 and this would have been hard to miss on my credit report). He said they've had my case for over 120 days and they sent me documents 6 months ago stating that they could pursue me for the full balance of the credit card, garnish wages, come after any assets, + legal fees because it hadn't been included in my original BK. I asked why they'd wait nearly 8 years to contact me. He said he didn't know but they have the case now. He knew my BK case number and the name of my attorney (all public records). He said that he can put my case on hold for 24 hours but that I'd need to call him back within 24 hours. I immediately contacted my attorney's office but couldn't schedule a call with him until early next week to verify that this credit card had indeed been included in my BK. I tried to contact Arthur Bigsby immediately (within 5 mins.) with my update and got no answer - rang and rang until the call dropped. I called again and after much ringing it rolled over to another guy. I told him the "case" number again and he told me he'd forward me to Arthur Bigsby's voicemail to let him know. After 2 rings, the call dropped. This guy had me very scared but I'm so happy I saw these posts and can recognize this is a scam!
Strange emails
June 17, 2020
Has anyone had emails from various people impersonating payday loans, like andrewlawfirm.paydayloanattorney@gmail.com. they addressed me as Debtor and did not say who their client was I supposedly owe money to. Seems like a huge scam. Thanks.
kzad
July 17, 2020

In reply to by Strange emails

Mine has been from Golden Recovery Services( 3 emails in the last week)
VK Whipple
June 09, 2020
I have just received a voice mail from someone who claims to be a document server from Preferred Delivery phone number 833-619-0976. With regard to my late husband and a very old address where we lived together. They had my current address and cell phone number. I don't want to call the number they gave to call back within 2 hours. Is this something that is legitimate?
APM
June 15, 2020

In reply to by VK Whipple

Hello. I am receiving a similar message from this number. They have also contact my employer - but I work remotely. Not once have I been contacted at my home. Nothing about this seems legitimate.
Anonymous
June 12, 2020
An automated voice spoke when a number from +1 714 868 5969 called. I called back and same voice answered but asked me to verify the name. I said the name isn’t me but I can forward a message. He gave me contact info I didn’t write down though I should have but they said “don’t know why you haven’t answered we have been calling, and to call this number back with Justin to give his info, cannot disclose any info to you”... beware as I am not sure but it sounds fraudulent.
william M
June 18, 2020
Beware of Legal Outsourcing Services. Eddie Lopez represents himself as a LEO, Badge #701. The call back number he gives goes to a bogus law firm, Gibbs & Callahan. THIS IS A SCAM.
James
June 24, 2020
I got a call today twice from the same 714 area code number.... the voicemail messages were slightly different and gave a different call back numbers
Alana_85
June 25, 2020
I been getting harassed by a 833-628-0109 number to get to my Mom. They been sending me an automated text with my Mom’s name as if they’re reaching out to her through me. At first I would just block the numbers but they kept sending the text from different numbers. I eventually called to ask them to stop calling or texting me and the guy had the worst attitude ever and was very unprofessional. They said he wont take my number off the contact list and needed my mom to do that since she put me on that list. I had my mom call them not knowing this was a scam, to take care of what they’re trying to get ahold of her for. They continued to give her the same disgusting attitude threatening to take her to court but yet haven’t sent any actual documents to her mail. The guy demanded her to pay a 4000 credit card debit that wasn’t fixed 19 years ago. He laughed at her face over the phone and kept harassing her. I know with any real debit collector wouldn’t ever talk to anyone the way this man talked to my Mom and I. So I did my research and came across this website and it all makes sense now. I right away sent this article to my mom and told her to get ahold of her lawyer so he can handle this scam. What other possible solutions can my mom and I take to protect ourselves from this scammer? I would appreciate the help, thank you everyone.
Maki1
July 06, 2020
I received a call today from an independent processor saying she was for Contra Costa county and it was from a company Keller to Phillips and she even gave me an account number to reference and call them. How do you know if it's a scam. She said she'd give me 24 hours to contact them and work it out. So I googled Keller and Phillips and whole bunch of different things came up and it led me to the FTC basically. But most of it says Phillips and Keller as scams how do I know if it's the same color in Phillips? I'm basically confused how do I find out exactly who is real and who is fake. I did call Kellen Phillips and it was somebody who said he worked for telephone Phillips his name but it was a voicemail and it said to leave information that was it. I've never gotten anything written from coloring Phillips so I need to know what do I need to do to figure out if this is legit or if it's a scam somebody trying to collect something isn't there.
Peaceandlove
July 08, 2020
I received a call from Mike Epstein phone number 888-786-9580 they also call from 833-628-0107 and 833-6280110 claiming that I owe a debt from 11 years ago. He said the company name is "Hudson Legal" and "Global United Assets" They also left me a voicemail saying that they are calling from "Los Angeles County Processing" regarding my arraignment. And that they will be serving me at my home address and then ended the voicemail with saying "you've been notified". I'm also receiving text messages from them. I've never received anything in writing. This debt is also not on my credit report. I'm in the processing of contacting a Consumer Protection Lawyer
Ddunn9
July 08, 2020
I am repeatedly getting these calls from private numbers and the person keeps saying it is a lawsuit out of Oklahoma. I need to call this 866 number. Then they begin to threaten me and say they know where I live and they are taking me to jail. This is the last time they are calling. Next time will be police. This is horrible. I have no lawsuits. I called County clerk there is nothing pending.
Grady
July 09, 2020
Had 3 voicemails from 770-881-8547 claiming i have a pending civil complaint or pending legal matter against me. The person says its a Ms. Williams with no company name and i need to contact them asap. They have even contacted a family member looking for me (similar voicemail). Seems like a scam to me. I haven't returned the call.
Mt1502
July 09, 2020
I received a call leaving me a message like we from a law firm saying i has a warrant to appear in court and it was from the address on file and the attorney of record. And call 8774751599 with a case number. Totally fake not going call.
BNB Signs
July 15, 2020
I have a company calling from 918-420-1596 and 855-241-1809 and claiming to be a law firm. He has spoke with me, cursed me, called me a dead beat. He has called all my family at least 5 times each and is now slandering me and my business. I cant find anything on the company so I cant file a complaint. I really need help.
Overwatchsmoak
July 15, 2020
They sent me this Our firm has filed an order of location for JD pertaining to a legally required notice. Jd would need to contact the office responsible for filing the case at 866-678-0161 and refer to File 144289. Understand this is considered your legal notification and you will be processed accordingly unless further instructions are received. Thank you. They say they’re From the law offices of issac miller
kzad
July 17, 2020
In the last week I've gotten 3 scam emails from a company called Golden Recovery Services. They are demanding payment for a payday loan. I know it's not legit because the address on the letter doesn't exist , the company doesn't exist and they're threatening me with legal action which I know collection companies can not do. How do we stop these people
Pc.redneck
August 06, 2020
I had the same type of phone call with threats of arrest, collections, coming to my job and causing me to lose my job, etc. I researched them and they are fake!
Dogruler
July 22, 2020
Eddy Green. 888-718-0325. Keeps calling to say I have breached some agreement and need to make financial arrangements....I blocked him. You call the number and it asks for a case #. Scammers
MsJo
July 24, 2020
I just received a call from a woman without a name from (510) 206-6932. She claimed she was calling regarding an "order of location". I asked her what was that and was she sure she had the right person. She had my name but wanted the last 4 digits of my social security number and my date of birth. I refused. She claimed that I hard a lawyer assigned to me and gave me a file # which I was supposed to use when I call a company named Liberty Proceeding at (855) 611-3959. I called the number and another unidentified woman wanted the last 4 digits of my social security number and my birth date. I refused. I googled "order of location". It turns out it has to do with verifying the location of a child whose parent has filed for Legal Aid. under the Family Law Act 1975. I do not have any under age children nor have I ever filed for Legal Aid. In researching I found that this company, Liberty Proceedings are scammers.
Don't use your…
July 27, 2020
I just got a call said I wrote bad checks I haven’t had Bank of America sense 2009 I filed bankruptcy for check cashing Places i10 years ago It’s scary because she knew my name and my last # she got mad at me because I said it was a scam said king county was picking me up and knew my partners name When she mentioned my work well then I knew I haven’t work there sense 2012 It closed
Jmorgan
July 29, 2020
My dad received a call from a "lawyers office " they claimed they sent paper work out in june but we never heard of the company they rep. They wanted my dad to state his full name with middle intial and full ss# which he never said . My dad kept say resend the paper work or email it to me and they guy had a reason why he couldn't. If u goin to scam people at least try harder
Lk88
July 30, 2020
Received a call from a local area code, 734-375-9635. Number called on 7/23 and 7/30.Left a vm stating on 7/23, James Jones and on 7/30 this is John Michaels from MCM legal department. There are 2 seperate complaints with your name, he did state and ssn he did not state. If not contacted by noon tomorrow we will be taking legal action and sent to your appropriate state. Please call to plead your case at 844-400-6562 ext 104.
Mgcali
July 31, 2020
I received a call today from LCR and associates out of New York claiming that I had written a check to a payday loan service which was completely false. They used very aggressive tactics threatening tactics using personal information such as my husband's name that I was familiar with and other familiar situations personal I have not even written a check for five years prior to the dates they were claiming I didn't even have any checks in print for the year claimed. Also for the year claimed I had spent the better part of that year and the following year in the hospital in a coma caused by an accident that caused a significant traumatic brain injury. After that it took me several years to learn how to talk right eat and care for myself so it would have been impossible. I requested the documentation he had in his file to be sent to me in the mail and I would respond accordingly. At first he was really nice after being a jerk for initial contact. Then when he realized I wasn't falling for it he became aggressive and threatening again. I feel that I handle it appropriately and wouldn't give personal information or confirm personal information. Consumer beware this is completely a scam. I appreciate the post above and the suggestions in the warnings given to consumers. I appreciate the time it took. Please be careful do not pay for anything or over the phone that you did not initiate the contact. Ever this is not the first kind of calls different but also for scamming people out of money. I could see how people may fall victim to this type of fraud and crime. Be careful thanks again
Justagirl
August 03, 2020
I got a call that I’m getting sued by Wachovia bank from a closed overdraft account from 2009/2010. I’m sure I paid it off. It’s Hudson Legal Service 8336280113 who’s calling. They also called by father to get a hold of me since it’s an urgent matter. They gave me 24 hours to send proof of pay off. What should I do?
GetLostBozos
August 06, 2020
I received multiple calls from (512) 598-6801. A man by the name of Noah Daniels stated in his first voicemail on 7/16/2020 that he works for the offices of J and L Recovery and that a complaint was filed against me for stopping a payment(?) on November 14th, 2019. He did not state what the payment amount was, nor did he state what the payment was for. I ignored it because I know I didn’t stop any payments. On 7/31/2020- same phone number and man called me. This time he stated the complaint was “that I allegedly authorized payments from a closed account knowingly” and that 7/31 was the deadline for a formal statement before recommending other actions being taken against me. I DID NOT HAVE ANY CLOSED FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS NOR DO I HAVE ANY NOW. I challenged him saying that if he can’t give me exact information that he’s a scammer. All he retorted with was the information was verifiable “in office”. I asked for an address and he wouldn’t give me one. He also stated that they don’t have a website as they are an arbitration office. The only J and L Recovery that comes up is a towing company in Texas.
DESTRA
August 06, 2020
I HAVE BEEN GETTING CALLS FROM SOME PHANTOM COLLECTION AGENCY 361-252-9989 FOR OVER A YEAR NOW. I DON'T OWE MONEY TO ANYONE THAT IS AN UNPAID DEBT OR HAVE ANY LAWSUITS AGAINST ME. THIS FRAUDULENT AGENCY IS EVEN CALLING MY ELDERLY PARENTS AT THEIR HOME TOO. MY CREDIT IS PERFECT WITH NO OUTSTANDING DEBTS OR LATE DEBTS. I NEED TO FIND A LAWYER TO GET THEM TO STOP. I HAVE TOLD THEM TO STOP CALLING ME BUT THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR OVER A YEAR BUT THIS COLLECTION AGENCY CALLS ME DAILY. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT I CAN DO?
Confuzzled in Tulsa
August 14, 2020
How can you get a fake debt collector to quit calling you. The debt had been discharged last year and one attorney I have talked to indicated that they believe it is a scam. However they do have personal information like social security number etc. When I ask for location address and or letter of validation they hang up.
Blessed one
August 28, 2020
I’ve had several emails from Patrick law firm indicates that I owe them debt
Stressed out
September 25, 2020
I live in South Carolina. I received a call posing as POS Systems telling me that I would face a court date if I did not pay up on a loan from Cash Well right away. From the information they told me they had, this would have happened 11+ years ago. I need to talk to a lawyer in the Greenville area abut this. Who can I get to talk to me?
S0UNDGUY
October 12, 2020
Message I received. They also called my work **** this is Leila Brian, I'm contacting you in regards to your case that is in the process of being filed through Harris County by law. I do have to make you aware. That one's case number ##%%. To the county. It does become a matter of public record and there is an order for your location since I was unable to reach you by phone Mister ****. I have been instructed to contact your employer and speak with your supervisor wage because it doesn't like that. It's going to be your most likely place of location. So Mister cross, you do still have the legal right to contact proceedings office says processing your case. However, you will have to speak to them before they cases 5S once the case is discharged from their office. Your legal rights will be forfeited. The telephone number provided for their office is 844-463-9839. You will also need to reference number 76947. This is considered a legal notification by telephone. You will be located after 5pm
Dawn
November 24, 2020
I don't owe debt, but I've gotten four phone calls from "A.R.S." Before I blocked the number, they kept leaving messages for someone other than me, although my name is very clearly on my voicemail. Just a few minutes ago, I got notification that they just tried to call again, despite being blocked.
trooker
December 15, 2020
I just got a phone call from a company called ARF telling me that my daughter has a legal filing at the end of this week. They told me that they were a legal company and that there were allegations being levied against her. They told me that wanted to get "her side of the story." I am so pissed! I googled the phone number and this article came up. thank you for putting this out there! It is much appreciated!
Kcook
December 21, 2020
I just had a call from 512-562-0559 Office of Parker saying my daughter had a debt and that i could pay for it. They called me at work and I just couldnt talk. I called them back and recording said they were busy leave a message and didnt identify who i was calling. I am concerned it is someone trying to scam us. I spoke to a man named Bill Spencer
David OC
February 22, 2021
844-396-9428 : Received a call from this number posing as some sort of litigation documents processing office and leaving some reference numbers and calling family members at the same time. They are fraud . Just block their number .
Frustrated
March 02, 2021
Every year about this time I keep getting a phone call from a local number telling me to cal 855-240-0609 reference file number...in a county I haven’t lived in for over 5 years. Even gets so bad they call my brother and parents threatening to send Marshall’s to search their homes for me. I’ve called the county court in question and they have no record of any court cases against me...EVER! It’s so annoying and embarrassing this happens every year and that they call my family. Wish I could stop it
anonymous
March 31, 2021
recieved a call that went to voicemail from 920-287-0825 number stating they were a courier out of brown county and was delivering certified documents and addressed me using my maiden name and current name and said a photo ID was needed either at my residence or place of employment. The message leaves a different number to call back 1-833-437-0483 with a tracking number to use when calling. a stephen moore gets on the phone and is real rude- he says this is so &* so with the last 4 SSN and of course you agree--so then he goes on saying im going to be sued for some outstanding payday loan from 2019--well ive never recieved any correspondence to this prior just all of a sudden some calls. he said or we can settle out of court now and you will need to pay $xxx.xx today- i told him i vagely remember and have no means of paying anything and so he said your going to take your chances then and i repeated my self that i had no means of paying and the line went blank so i hung up. i called the 920 number back and that line just rings and then says your call cannot be completed as dialed and then goes dead
2021andstillgoing
April 09, 2021
SCAM!!! It’s April 9th 2021 and I got a call from a “CAS” case investigator telling me there was a complaint filed against my husband and that the investigator would arrive to serve more papers to him and that the voice mail was sufficient as him being formerly “notified”. I called the callback number a man answered and asked for the case number from the voicemail. Instead I told him I didn’t have one, and asked who they are, what business they are, and where are they based out of. He was blunt and acted matter of fact saying they’re a law firm and based out of North Carolina. He then asked who I was I told him and I told him I’m pretty sure they’re a scam. He asked me who they were calling for I said my husbands first name. He asked if I knew him, and I said no. The man then told me he would take me off the cal list so I wouldn’t be bothered again. The voicemail the woman “Carter” left me had me call them at 844-858-1492.
Don't utrizzle…
April 10, 2021
I have received calls and now texts from 5123991706. Saying I have a legal matter they've received. Now they're calling my sister and asking her to call them back for a character reference on me due to a legal matter! Wth? I call the number, they answer, but don't say who they are when they answer... My sister's voicemail states they're from some j and l law office. But not from what city or state.... They never leave me a voicemail.... Just texts...
Dm
April 21, 2021
I am getting harassed by a company by the name of S&O associates. She will not send any documentation without me sending a down payment. Number is 888-531-2301
Ed
April 28, 2021

In reply to by Dm

They also called me from 888-707-1525. Showed up in caller ID as "DOCUMENT PREPERATION" (misspelled like that). I spoke to a man & a woman. The guy got mad when I asked where they were located. The woman was persistent, but I never gave her any info. She claimed she was 'just the secretary.' I reported them using the FTC complaint form, & blocked their number.
Master technician
April 29, 2021
888-531-2301 Said they were law firm trying to collect a debt from over 10 years ago. Said they couldn't mail me anything because they said they already did & cost is too much to mail again (never received anything from them in mail) but they could email it to me. Total Scam!
Shorty37
May 23, 2021
I got an email concerning the same thing a few days ago.Someone named patrick.
Fed Up
June 07, 2021
I have been called from a law firm called Backman and Associates. The lady said her name was Amanda Myers. Phone number 1888 317-6660. They are saying I have a credit card that is 12 years old. I have never had this credit card before. They keep saying that I have a civil lawsuit pending. This is no where on my credit, nor has it ever been. I have never received any correspondence to my home that I have lived at for the last 2 years. Has anyone ever heard of this company?
Kate
June 08, 2021
This company called me saying they were with my home town court which I new better then threaten me by saying they was going to file three my court on a debt I owed they wanted me to give them my credit card number and I told them no they have also been calling my family threatening them also if they don’t give them any information about me they can end up in jail
email
June 09, 2021
This number keeps doing the same things mentioned (8884681744) in this article.
Christian
July 08, 2021
Received a call saying they were a law firm looking for a deceased member of my family with threat to collect a debt. The number was from 866-313-1621.