There are Rules Governing Debt Collectors
Debtor collectors are not allowed to call you before 8 am or after 9 pm (your time zone, not the caller’s). They cannot yell, swear, use crude language or threaten you in any way or do anything else that could be seen as harassment. Nor can they threaten to do something that they are not legal allowed to do – such as come to your home and take your property (without the appropriate court order). The FDCPA is a federal law that limits what debt collectors can do.
Fraud, Identity Theft, Phantom Debt and Others
According to Consumer Sentinel’s 2018 Data Book, published February, 2019, has consumers complaints about: fraud, identity theft and other consumer protection topics. Reporting agencies received about 608,000 complaints from consumers about debt collectors. Of those, more than 40 percent concerned efforts to collect “phantom debt” – debts which consumers say they don’t owe. If you believe you are being pursued for a debt you don’t owe, the FDCPA allows you to request verification of the debt.
Ask for Verification and Keep Records
You have a right to request the collecting agency’s name, physical address and phone number. Always ask for a verification letter with details. Keep records of all contacts (date, time, name of caller) because this information will help you later if the debt continues to be an issue.
Never Give Out Your Personal Information
If the collector requests personal information such as your social security number or bank account number – never provide it. Instead, request written documentation of the debt. If they start to threaten you with arrest or harm, write down the Caller ID number, and ask for the person’s name and report them to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and/or the FTC. But, be aware that many of these sleazy types are ‘spoofing’ legitimate phone numbers for law firms and government agencies.
Global Asset Financial Services Group LLC
Last week, a federal court shut down one alleged phantom debt collection scheme at the request of the Federal Trade Commission. The operation, called Global Asset Financial Services Group LLC was accused of “falsely claiming to be attorneys or affiliated with attorneys to pressure consumers into making payments on debts they did not owe, and threatening to take legal action against consumers if they did not pay. The group includes 10 companies and six individuals as proposed defendants: GAFS Group, LLC; Regional Asset Maintenance, LLC; 10D Holdings, Inc.; Trans America Consumer Solutions, LLC; Midwestern Alliance, LLC; LLI Business Innovations, LLC; TACS I, LLC; TACS II, LLC; TACS III, LLC; Cedar Rose Holdings & Development, Inc.; and their principals Ankh Ali, Aziza Ali, Kenneth Moody, David Carr, Jeremy Scinta, and Omar Hussain.
According to the FTC “One of the companies behind the operation, Midwestern Alliance, is a debt broker that allegedly bought, sold, and placed fake debt portfolios that it obtained from former payday loan generator Joel Tucker even after consumers said they did not recognize the debt or had already paid it,” news release