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It’s stressful enough getting calls from debt collectors for bills you actually owe. But if you’ve ever been harassed and threatened for debts you’ve never even heard about, let alone accrued, it can be downright harrowing – and quite possibly illegal.
Today, the FTC announced that a U.S. district court has temporarily halted a Georgia-based operation from using deception and threats to collect millions in phantom payday loan “debts.” The FTC says Williams, Scott & Associates and company president John Williams lied and threatened people to pay on debts they didn’t owe – or debts the company didn’t have the authority to collect.
According to the FTC, the debt collectors claimed to be federal and state agents, investigators, or members of a government fraud task force, or they pretended to be with a law firm. They falsely told consumers their driver’s licenses would be revoked and that they faced immediate arrest and imprisonment if they didn’t pay up. How did the debt collectors even know to contact those consumers? The FTC says many of the people had inquired about a payday loan online at one time and submitted contact information, which the company later got its hands on. The case is pending in federal court in Atlanta.
Don’t get intimidated by a bullying bill collector – real or fake. Any debt collector impersonating a law enforcement officer or threatening you with immediate arrest if you don’t pay up is violating federal law.
- Ask the caller for his name, company, street address, and telephone number. Tell the caller you won’t discuss any debt until you get a written „validation notice.“ If the caller refuses, don’t pay.
- Put your request in writing. If you have the caller’s address, send a letter demanding that the caller stop contacting you, and keep a copy for your files. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires any debt collector to stop calling if you ask them to in writing.
- Don’t give or confirm with the caller any personal, financial, or other sensitive information. Fake debt collectors, and other scammers, can use your information to commit identity theft and other crimes.
- Contact your creditor. If a debt is legitimate – but you think the collector isn’t – contact your creditor. Tell them about the suspicious call and ask who, if anyone, the creditor has authorized to collect the debt.
- Report the call.File a complaint with the FTC and your state Attorney General’s office with information about suspicious callers. Many states have their own debt collection laws in addition to the federal FDCPA.
Learn more about protecting yourself from fake debt collectors and about your rights if you actually are facing debt collection.
I received a call from 855-888-4697.I cant find any info on this number. The guy was very rude and told my husband that he took out a pay day loan in nebraska (we never did) We owed ove $3000. when my husband asked for info the guy only told him his SS# and wouldnt give out anyother info or mail us any either. We fell for a scam once before and payed $180 before we researched it and contacted the BBB. This jack a$$ also said if my husband didnt comply with in a certain amount of time his nebraska license would be revoked (we dont live in nebraska and havent for 7 years) Tax season is scam season so be careful.
and also my husband just got a https://cashcentralpaydayloans.com/payday-loans-al/ credit report from a bank and few months later a car dealership and we seen those reports and nothing on there about pay day loans.