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My tale is a common one these days. If you’re a newbie and freaking out because you are in a similar position – you are not alone.
I've had at least 4 of these bottom-feeding fake payday loan scammers try making a run at me over the past 2 years, and it all started with an inquiry I made through a website that acts as a payday loan "broker" -- they farm out your personal information to dozens (hundreds?) of potential "lenders" to fish for the best rates. (Lesson learned...ugh.)
(By the way, I accepted ONE offer that was legit -- complete with online contract – and I paid it back within the contract terms. I have documentation of that repayment. I don't think the ensuing calls have been related to that loan, but rather, the info I submitted to the "broker" went out to a bunch of fraudsters.)
A few months later, I started getting voicemails wherein the caller claims to be "Ms. Carter with the Process & Summons Division of Harris County"...blah blah blah. She leaves these threatening, official-sounding messages with a "FINAL OPPORTUNITY" to resolve "TWO COUNTS OF BANK FRAUD" directly with the plaintiff, but I must call said plaintiff's legal counsel at such-and-such number and reference "Court Docket #XYZ-ABC..." -- all totally ridiculous. I saved every one of the voicemails in MP3 format, and if I ever can identify the party, I will pay top dollar to someone to throw the book at them in civil and criminal court, if possible.
It got REALLY annoying when they called my father, who lives 200 miles away from me, and my brother's EX-mother-in-law in a city just outside of Houston (the references I used on that online process back in 2012).
But most egregious of all: they contacted my EMPLOYER and left the same detailed messages for the Executive Assistant to the CEO. It was humiliating, and the CEO was genuinely concerned for me. But I explained the situation and referred him to FTC info regarding this type of thing, and he told his Exec. Asst. to route any future calls to him, so that he could give them a run for their money. Unfortunately, they only called my employer one more time a few months later, and it was another voicemail, so no one ever actually spoke to the caller. But they pop up with calls to me and family members every few months.
So I'm still waiting for the sheriff to show up with my warrant. I guess he's been overly busy for the past 2 years, so in the meantime, the calls seem to have shifted to some newer players who are a little less tacky about the methods they employ. However, they use veiled claims that they're calling from some governmental or law enforcement entity -- or sometimes imply they're attorneys -- and instruct me to "have my attorney" return their call. Of course, they add that I can return the call, myself, if I have no legal representation...how nice of them.
So I happened to answer the most recent call, which I NEVER do. The conversation was very civil -- although it violated ALL KINDS of laws and tossed around the word "felony" -- and they agreed to send me something in writing about this alleged debt. Of course, as you can well imagine, no mail has arrived in 2 weeks. And they keep calling to "follow up with me" on said documentation, and I save every last voicemail.
What makes this one unique is that they actually gave me a name for themselves and a phone number that appears to be traceable to an actual business. Most of these places use Google Voice numbers that change weekly, and they claim they're with a fictitious law firm (confirmed by the State Bar of whatever state they claim to be in) or a governmental agency who's never heard of them, if you contact said agency (if it exists.)
So now that I have somewhere I can actually send certified mail to, I am going to request (in writing) for them to send me what they allegedly sent me already, and I will go on record with a limited C&D to ensure said written documentation is forthcoming. (It ain't, by the way.)
And today it hit me like a lightning bolt – I can actually give them the name of “my attorney” for all future communication...! I have a unique relationship with a very accomplished state & federal trial lawyer who occasionally does legal correspondence for Fox News. These people are threatening felony charges on the phone calls, and they may just move on to another victim if I were to tell them to address all phone calls to my attorney. And while I can't put it past one of these morons to actually pick up the phone and dial the number I give them, I am 99.999999 percent certain they wouldn't dare do such a stupid thing. They may not be the sharpest tools in the shed, but any imbecile who can perform a simple Google search -- and who is racking up potential felony charges, themselves -- can see that THIS attorney may not be the best person to fool with.
Then it occurred to me that there may be some legal reason why I can't just go claiming she’s my legal counsel if I haven't actually retained her services (not in the past decade, anyway)...or if not a legal reason, it may just be a huge violation of privacy or other personal and/or professional boundaries. So I asked her. And she told me to ABSOLUTELY give them her name and contact info, and to be sure I let them know that she’s forwarding all info about them to the Harris County District Attorney. In fact, she wants to do that part now, if I have identifying info that can be confirmed.
P.S -- DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS.
So today I got a letter from DRS dated April 1. It informed me that I owed AT&T $250 and offered to work with me on payment. How generous of them. Well I’ve been an AT&T customer for a year and never been in arrears. The account number cited by DRS doesn’t have the faintest relationship to my actual account number. It's obviously a scam. Does it require a regular DV letter or something else? I’ve never written a DV before -- but I’ve read a lot here so know how to do it – but just want to make sure I proceed correctly. How has this company not lost its license to collect in my state (NY)? And who do I complain to in order to get that ball rolling to make it happen? The AG? As always, thanks for your help.
Recently, I had turned a friend/co-worker of mine onto this board as I've been part and parcle to my own success story here (see link below). He asked for advise and where to start the journey so many of us here have already made.
Once deep into the conversation I mentioned the one two punch AND an the official "Validation Letter". The day ended, he had signed up to creditboards!! All was well right, he had the info he needed to get going yes?? Not so fast, this link is what I had in my mail box from him this morning.
http://www.avoidbk.com/debt-validation-letter/ This guy is not only one of the most hated/best debt collectors (by his own admission) but thinks himself the "Gordon Ramsey" of debt settlement. With his business model I can easily see him getting kick backs from the collection agencies in addition to his clients PAYOUT. scum - scam. His business model is basically settle for less than the original amount and seven years of whacked credit - umm no thanks...
Needless to say I told my co-worker that READING-READING-READING on this board will make the biggest difference in his credit future not paying this dope.. It can be done personally, I've done it and so can you. It just takes time..
We will see what he does. I just wanted you all to be aware of this guy and his "Validation Letters are useless and settle for less than the original amount" guy. He probably slithers around here for all we know.
I just received a call from Financial Asset Management systems saying that I was involved in a hit and run a year and a half ago and I now owe State Farm $2,600. I need help in figuring out if this is a scam or not. Here are some facts:
*According to them, I opened my door and dinged an emergency vehicle, then drove away. I have no recollection of this incident whatsoever, and unless someone in my family took my car without my knowledge, I'm 99.99% sure this did not happen.
*The vehicle owner filed a claim with their insurance (State Farm) and State Farm took care of the damages. Again, I was never notified until almost a year and a half later. If they had my vehicle description, wouldn't I have been notified by the police?
*Now State Farm is "allegedly" using the debt collector to settle the debt from me in the tune of $2,600.
*I have the option to make monthly payments OR if I make a lump sum payment, I get a % discounted and I only need to pay $1,800. (this part seems fishy)
*They gave me a police report number, and I gave it to my cousin (who is a cop) but I haven't heard back on that yet.
The name of the company is Financial Asset Management systems inc. I see a lot of complaints on ripoff report, but it still seems like a legitimate debt collecting firm.
Can someone please offer some advice? I really don't want this to be on my credit report if I don't pay, but I shouldn't have to pay for something I didn't do. What are my rights for something like this?