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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.
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?
Federal Trade Commission, Plaintiff, v.
Pinnacle Payment Services, LLC,
Velocity Payment Solutions, LLC,
Heritage Capital Services, LLC,
Performance Payment Processing, LLC,
Credit Source Plus, LLC (Georgia),
Credit Source Plus, LLC (Ohio),
Reliable Resolution, LLC,
Premium Express Processing, LLC (Ohio),
Premium Express Processing, LLC (Georgia),
Lisa J. Jeter, Nichole C. Anderson, Hope V. Wilson, Angela J. Triplett, and DeMarra J. Massey, Defendants
(United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia)
FTC File No. 1323043
Case No. 1:13-CV-3455
At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a U.S. district court has halted an operation based in Atlanta and Cleveland that allegedly used deceptive and threatening tactics to collect phantom payday loan “debt” that consumers either did not owe, or did not owe to the defendants. The court order freezes the defendants’ assets to preserve the possibility of providing redress to consumers, and appoints a receiver.
According to the FTC, the defendants operated under a host of fictitious business names that implied an affiliation with a law firm or a law enforcement agency, such as Global Legal Services, Allied Litigation Group, United Judgment & Appeals, Dockets Liens & Seizures, and United Judgment Center. Using robocalls and voice messages that threatened legal action and arrest unless consumers responded within a few days, the defendants have collected and processed millions of dollars in payment for phantom debts, according to the complaint. Their practices have generated almost 3,000 complaints to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel.
According to documents filed with the court, a typical message stated: “[T]his is the Civil Investigations Unit. We are contacting you in regards to a complaint being filed against you, pursuant to claim and affidavit number D00D-2932, where you have been named a respondent in a court action and must appear. There is a contact number on file which you must call, 757-301-4745. Please forward this information to your attorney in that the order to show cause contains a restraining order. You or your attorney will have 24 to 48 hours to oppose this matter.”
Working out of offices in Cleveland and Atlanta, the defendants threatened consumers that if they did not pay, their bank accounts would be closed, their wages would be garnished, they would face felony fraud charges, they would have to appear in court thousands of miles from their homes, or they would be arrested at their workplace, according to documents filed with the court. Many consumers ended up paying the defendants for debts they did not owe because they feared the threatened repercussions of failing to pay, believed the defendants were legitimate and collecting real debts, or simply wanted to stop the harassment, according to the complaint.
My son attended the Art Institute in Philadelphia which he took out a loan for with the help of my mother; she cosigned for him. During his time in school (which he took longer to graduate than anticipated) we never received any notices regarding repayment and interest; not sure why, but because I am a student with loans and don't receive notices it didn't seem odd. Right before it was time for him to complete his internship we began to get notices that he was going into default for nonpayment. Again, I am a student and have been for the past 10 years (working on my PhD) and have never been asked to repay loans as long as I was in school. We had no clue he was supposed to be paying on these loans. Needless to say there were late fees and so forth added to the loan. Moving forward we learn that he had approximately $40,000 loans to cover an education that was supposed to cost about $15-20,000; and on top of that, to date the principle balance is approximately $40,000.
My son never did graduate because of the current loans which made it difficult to even want to borrow anymore; nothing but internship left and he was unable to proceed. When speaking to Sallie Mae they stated that my mother forwarded her electronic signature for the loans; she would not have approved the amounts exceeding the cost of the program....and only signed for three to both our reollection. Also, we found out that the school charged my son for two programs....one that he changed after realizing he was in the wrong field. Since school he's help odd jobs but have not been able to really begin his career; my mother with her own responsibilities and student loans did all she could to help him make the payments he has made thus far; and my having financial difficultties also participated in trying to keep the loan from going into default we have gotten very little help from Sallie Mae. They have harrassed my mother to no end, and they are extremely rude. The payments continue to get higher, and the late fees continue to pile on, and regardless of how cooperative we are we cannot get a break. The enitre family has gotten involved, they have everyone's information and harrass us all; calls from sun up to sun set and beyond, and with all the harrassment no one is willing to help.
So, to my main question....my mother is now retired and my son just finished up a temporary position and looking for work again. Today a payment is due and we do not have it; my mother was told that if this payment was not made the loan will go into default and Sallie Mae will be after her hom, her income tax, and her retirement income. My mother shares a home with my father who's name is also on the mortgage so she is very worried; in fact borderline depressed. We cannot keep up with this loan at the monthly rates they are asking...it is going to default.
Please, someone tell me what happens when this loan defaults? What should we expect to happen and in approximately what time frame? I cannot tell my mother not to worry and it will be okay when I hear Sallie Mae make such threats. What if anything can I or she do to protect her home and income, especially considering that her husband shares in ownership?
Thank you in advance for your help!