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Foreign Collection Agencies


GlitterGal
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Okay, this is a new one on me.

 

I happened to be at my mother's house yesterday when she got a call.  It came up as a local number, in fact as a call from our church.  She answered it and things spiralled out of control pretty quickly, so I took the phone from her.  She isn't good at phones.

 

Essentially, it was someone looking for me and threatening to have a police officer at her house in 1 hour if I didn't immediately contact them.  Now, I cleaned all my legitimate debt up, so I knew that this was either related to an ongoing dispute with Sallie Mae or a scam/zombie debt. 

 

I began trying to inquire about the debt, but they wouldn't give me any information unless I gave them my whole SSN.  I refused.  They then said they had filed criminal charges for my debt and had an arrest warrant issued for me...would I please give them my checking account number so they didn't have to add the expense of having the police come get me?

 

As I mentally started to play "count the violations", the person on the phone began to rant about how I was personally taking money from their country and their children were starving because of me.  That's when I got REALLY confused and asked them to back up.  I have to admit, I really wish I had recorded this call, because it was a doozy.

 

Essentially, this is a firm out of India that claims they are not party to any federal or state laws in the US and can do or say whatever they want.  They refused to provide their company name or address and only would take my information.  At that point, I hung up.

 

Since then, my mother has had at least 3 spoofed calls showing numbers she regularly answers and has continued to have issues with this company.

 

So, obviously, this is a new kind of problem to me.  Thoughts, opinions, suggestions?

 

Just to clarify, I did give them all of my contact information and acknowledged being the person they are looking for, so they have absolutely no reason to call her and have not even attempted to call me since I gave them that.

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It is a scam.  The violations are numerous but the reality is you would have to sue them in India and the expense is not worth it since they wouldn't pay when you won. Even if they are here in the USA they operate out of post office boxes or mail box store drops and serving them is impossible.  Even if you did locate a hard address they simply close up shop and move to another county or state and start over under a new name.  

 

The goal is to scare the elderly parent into paying on your behalf or to scare you into paying so they leave Mom alone.  Once they identify the easy "marks" the ones who pay, the phone number(s) are added to the list of payers and handed off to their buddy at the next desk.  He/she waits a few months then creates a new business name you allegedly owe money too and calls again with the threats of arrest.

 

File a complaint with the FTC.  Have Mom call screen and show her how to pick up calls when it is the Church, friends, family, or anyone she wants or needs to talk to. After a few non-responses to voice mails and threats they add the name/number to the won't pay list and move on.  

 

If you can get a US based business name you can report it to the FTC and AG of the state where they are.  Frankly these calls occur with such frequency that I cannot believe that law enforcement can't do something about it but I guess as long as they aren't getting them or losing money they don't care.

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I know that here, its too difficult to prosecute.

 

I have filed an FTC complaint, but the thing that gets me is that they are spoofing numbers on her phone that are legitimate numbers she answers.  Due to some identity theft I was victim of a few years back (and how I found CIC in the first place), she doesn't answer anything that she doesn't recognize.

 

I guess I'm just a little in awe of the business model.  I mean, I think I'm going to start calling random people in Dubai and demand they send me money.  Maybe if I cry, they will, right? :yahoo:

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They refused any information.  They said because they are a foreign entity, it could only be paid by ACH debit from my account.  Since I had already refused to give my social, I couldn't even really play along enough to get an address.  We'll have to see if they call when I'm there again.

 

Honestly, I doubt there even is a debt attached to this.  No figure was ever quoted, just pressure for my payment information and social.  I have some zombie debt floating around out there, but I knew it was bogus from the get go.  Its been almost 3 years since I've had a call from anyone besides Sallie Mae/Pioneer, so I wasn't really on the ball and they made my Mommy cry, so I wasn't up to the normal games. 

 

Just as a note, I used CIC to train my mother not to answer these things and help her understand that they were trying to make her nervous when they threatened suits and police action, so its also uncommon for her to get these calls anymore.  Unfortunately, she also is widely head-hunted and part of a professional board, making it imperative that she does occassionally answer calls that she does not recognize.

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