Have you ever gotten a call about a debt that isn’t yours? That’s known as a phantom debt, and today, the FTC and the New York Attorney General’s Office announced that they are suing two players in an alleged phantom debt scam: Hylan Asset Management and Worldwide Processing Group. It’s a complex web of made-up debt, debt sellers, brokers, buyers, and collectors – involving some players the FTC has sued before.
How did this scheme work? According to the FTC, Hylan Asset Management placed portfolios of fake debt with other debt collectors, and sold them to other brokers and collectors. The FTC says that Hylan knew the debts were phantom – in fact, many were bought from people the FTC has sued for unlawful debt collection practices.
Then, Worldwide Processing Group, a debt collection company, not only collected on these illegitimate debts, but also collected on them using illegal tactics: contacting family members, employers, and coworkers (or threatening to), and failing to give people the required notices about the debt. And, according to the FTC and the NY Attorney General’s office, the company knew about complaints from consumers that they didn’t owe the debts the company was trying to collect.
You have legal rights when it comes to debt collection – if a debt collector threatens, harasses or intimidates you, that’s illegal. Also, debt collectors have to send you a validation notice in writing, within five days of contacting you, that tells you how much money you owe, the name of the creditor, and what to do if you don’t think you owe the money. If you do not get that notice, or if you’re harassed, tell the FTC. And if you’re getting calls about debts that you think might not be yours, learn more about phantom debt collection.
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.
Bona fide Thanks
In reply to afew months back i got a call by georgia1
You can report that to the FTC at www.FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you give us will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.
You can also report a business to your state Attorney General. You can find your Attorney General's information online, or go to the Attorney General's association at www.naag.org for a list.