A recent scam artist has started calling Oklahoma consumers, sometimes leaving voicemail messages claiming that they have a “very urgent message solely intended” for the consumer’s name. They claim to be “Robert Johnson” with the “Wage and Garnishment Division State Of Oklahoma.” In the message, they claim to have be preparing an “order to be sent out to the current place of employment” for garnishment. The message then states to call them back at 866-232-5380 before the matter is “escalated to a higher authority.”
Audio of the message left from 866-232-5380 can be downloaded here.
Of course, there is no “Wage and Garnishment Division” operated by the state of Oklahoma. This low life scam artist is simply trying to scare you into believing that they are a legitimate company that will be contacting your employer if you don’t immediately return their call and provide your credit card information to them over the phone. Many times these scam artist even have (illegally) obtained a copy of your credit report which allows them to have even more detailed, personal information about you, making them sound all the more convincing.
If you’ve received a message from the “Wage and Garnishment Division” 866-232-5380 (or another number claiming to be from the Wage and Garnishment Division) then you’re not alone. About half of the people calling our office are being called by scammers.
Many times these debt collection scam artists such as “Wage and Garnishment Division” 866-232-5380 may have illegally accessed your credit reports or may have used public records such http://www.oscn.net 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 CFPB.
If you believe that a scam artist is calling you, do a Google search for the telephone number they are calling from, and for the number they are leaving for you to return their call. (These numbers are not always the same as scam artists usually “spoof” their telephone numbers in order to avoid being detected.) If searching their numbers doesn’t reveal any Google hits (other than other people discussing similar scam activity as you experienced) then you are likely being called by scam artist. The FTC has recently issued a consumer advisory about fake debt collectors. The CFPB has tips on how to identify scam artist debt collectors.
If you still have concerns, you can always contact our firm by giving us information such as the telephone number of the party calling you in the web form box on the right of this page. We’re happy to keep you from making a mistake by paying a scam artist for a debt you don’t owe!
It is precisely these types of fake debt collection calls which necessitates the bright line rules set out in the Fair Debt Collection practices Act (FDCPA) and the oversight of debt collectors provided by the CFPB. The FDCPA prohibits the use of any false information in attempting to collect a debt. A consumer has the right, under the FDCPA, to write to the debt collector and request that the debt collector provide written validation of the debt being sought. Congress has clearly stated in the Declaration of Purpose within the FDCPA that one of the purposes of the FDCPA is to “eliminate abusive debt collection practices by debt collectors” and “to insure that those debt collectors who refrain from using abusive debt collection practices are not competitively disadvantaged.”
If they are just fly-by-night scammers, however, then there is little that Paramount Law, or any other consumer protection attorney, can do for you. Because scam artists don’t answer lawsuits and just disappear once a default judgment occurs (usually opening up a similarly-named debt collection agency located in the suite next door), then consumer attorneys have no “stick” to go after scam artists, and the CFPB is the only way that these companies can be put out of business. The CFPB is the only governmental agency that enforces the bright line rules of the FDCPA.
However, the CFPB is in danger of being dismantled and weakened by the new administration who would like to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the CFPB.. Republicans, most of whom oppose the CFPB’s existence, have long been critical of the bureau’s funding process and Congress’s limited control. Recently proposed legislation called the “TABS Act” would give legislators more say over CFPB operations and opens the door to defunding the agency all together! Please call your legislators and tell them to protect the CFPB from defunding!
If you or someone you know is getting calls by legitimate collectors, contact Paramount Law at 918-200-9272. We hate scam artists, but we make constant calls from legitimate collectors stop and get our clients cash for their damages. We practice statewide. For more information, call or submit your information in the webform to the right of this page.