What Do I do Now

In these unsettled economic times you cannot help but hear about
the variety of scams inflicted upon people who are in debt because
of unemployment or mortgage debt. Scammers offer fixes that are too
good to be true or try to confuse you into giving them personal
information in order to assist you. One recent scam concerns
collectors of supposed old pay day loans who call and use extremely
aggressive tactics to collect a debt. There are stories of threats
of jail or immediate lawsuits, demands of immediate payment for the
full amount as well as instances of calls to friends, family or
your job. Often these scam artists will be secretive about their
company name; if they do give a company name, often times they make
it sound like it is some kind of government agency – my favorite is
National Fraud Affidavit. So what do you when someone calls you
promising to fix your financial troubles?

Do not give them any information that would allow them to get
money from you. 

  • Do not give out your bank account and routing number.
  • Do not give out your credit card number – even if they promise
    not to take any money and that they just want a “show of good
    faith” from you. 
  • Write down the names of the people calling you and get their
    phone numbers. 
  • Be stern and confidently tell them that you will not be paying
    them any money unless they provide a letter on their letterhead as
    to who they are, where they are, exactly how much money they claim
    you owe, and who the original creditor is. 

Chances are they will refuse this request rather rudely and step
up their assault. That’s okay, don’t panic. There is a good chance
that these companies are either trying to pull off a scam or are
otherwise engaging in improper business activities; if they don’t
give you a real company name and location chances are theyaren’ta
real company. Many of these companies do not incorporate under the
laws of any state, they have no company assets or capital, and they
do not have any other real business structure. For that reason,
they feel comfortable blatantly violating the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act because there is no business to bring to court.

Our experience has taught us that the more you aggressively tell
them that there is no way they are getting any money from you, the
quicker they will just give up on calling you. Finally, take the
information you have on them, the phone number on the caller ID and
the name they gave you, and report it to your local Attorney
General’s office.  Though we cannot expect the Attorney
General to locate and prosecute each case of this that comes across
their desks, enough complaints of the same pattern may spark some
interest in a more wide range investigation, and put an end to
illegal tactics for good.