Recently one of our clients received the following voicemail from a scam artist debt collector posing as a process server. This was especially concerning for her because she had recently been sued by a debt buyer (who promptly dismissed when we go involved). However, several months after the court dismissal, this scam artist called our client and her family regarding the same alleged debt. Our client knew not to accept some scammer’s word for a debt and called us instead of calling them back.
If you’ve received a similar call, you’re not alone. About half of the people calling our office are being called by scammers. The FTC has recently issued a consumer advisory about fake debt collectors. The CFPB has tips on how to identify scam artist debt collectors.
Many times these scam artists illegally access your credit reports or use public records to give them more information about you in order to try to trick you into paying them and harass your relatives. Don’t fall for it. Demand they provide you with their website and their physical address so that you can write them to validate the debt. If they won’t, tell them: 1) not to call you back, 2) that you believe they are scam artists, and 3) that you have reported them to the FTC and the CFPB.
Unfortunately, if they are just fly-by-night scammers, even though they have violated the FDCPA, because of the extreme difficulty in locating such scammers (many are likely located offshore or overseas), there is little that Paramount Law, or any other consumer protection attorney, can do for you. Reporting them to your local police department, the FTC, the CFPB, and the Attorney General’s Office [OK AG’s Office] [LA AG’s Office] is your best option. Please file a complaint against the debt collector with the CFPB here. I recommend that you file both complaints in order to try and shut scammers down!
Listen to the Recent Scam Voicemail Here:
This is Michael Davis, license carrier with Tulsa County, calling to contact the person of interest, a [CONSUMER’S NAME REDACTED]. We have received a filed formal complaint in the social security number ending with [LAST 4 DIGITS OF CONSUMER’S SSN REDACTED]. Here are the withholding documents [sic] states a request for me to be dispatched out to your current residence [CONSUMER’S ADDRESS REDACTED] as well as the place of employment labeled here in the court order. I can grant you until the end of business today to contact the filing party to update your address for the summoning date and place a possible stop order on our services. The number the filing party can be reached at 918.819.4811. When contacting use docket number [FAKE DOCKET NUMBER REDACTED].US. Thank you. You’ve been formally notified.
This voicemail is interesting because the technology this scammer is using to place these calls makes it sound almost human. However, notice the numbers are always said with the same inflection. Listen closely to the inflection when this robot states the the repeating numbers, which also uses a local area code. This whole message is computer generated!
Regardless of the technology used, the scam almost always the same – – threats of a process server coming to your house or work, serving you with a summons or other court order. The lie that you can possibly “avoid” this by calling them back is just the come on to get the consumer to quickly call them. In actuality, there is no lawsuit has actually been filed. In Oklahoma, consumers can check for themselves and search the court dockets at www.oscn.net, the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network The scammer makes it sound especially convincing by stating your address and social security number, both of which could have been obtained (possibly illegally) from your credit report.
The thing is, real process servers aren’t this lazy. They get paid only when they serve a person, not when they just get the person to call back. There is no “formal notification” other than handing you a Summons and Petition. Process services use the element of surprise to find the person and hand them papers. The last thing they do is call and ask for a call back.
Sometimes these scammers will say they aren’t process servers, they are “locators,” and tell the consumer to call their employer. Another lie. By making it sound like there are multiple levels and parties involved, the idea behind this scam is to make the consumer think they are in a lot of trouble and many companies are involved. In fact, many times these scammers will tell the consumer that they have broken the law or are subject to arrest for fraud or avoidance.
Don’t fall for it! If you believe you might have been called by a scam artist, talk to a consumer attorney like Param0unt Law. Many attorneys that a great lawyers don’t even know about these sorts of scams. In fact, many scammers will even ask to speak with your attorney and will lie to them, too! It is very important to properly identify a scammer from a legitimate debt collector. If you need any help doing this, please feel free to reach out to us.