tempteroffate

Stopping a debt collection scammer dead in their tracks

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I have taken care of pretty much all of the debt collectors for debts that are actually mine, but I have recently been subjected to "scary" calls from purported debt collectors, mediators, or process servers attempting to get me to pay on debts that are either extremely old (well beyond SOL), have previously been resolved, or don't actually exist. The callers leave automated voicemail messages that indicate they have a "pending complaint" in their office that they want to give me an opportunity to resolve with them before they "file a case against" me (or my SSN) at my county courthouse. They threaten to contact my employer, family, friends, etc and to have me arrested or served if I don't respond and clear up the debt. It's a huge pain in the a$$ because they're obvious frauds and totally disregard the FDCPA so it's virtually impossible to get them to go away. It can also be pretty embarrassing when they contact family members or friends. Sound familiar?

I don't typically answer calls from numbers I don't recognize and usually just disregard the voicemail messages (I always save and archive them though). If I get a repeat offender, I will sometimes do some basic Google searches on the number to confirm my suspicions that it is a scammer and then block the number (they usually use VOIP lines and spoof the caller-ID which makes it extremely difficult to track them down to make them stop ), but today I think I got lucky. A little digging showed the number they called from actually belongs to CLEC phone provider that offers "network-based voice & messaging" (aka VOIP services) and the number that showed on my caller-ID wasn't spoofed and resolved to a LANDLINE not too far from my home. This provides me the unique opportunity to be able to get actual contact information for the "company" using the number to make these fraudulent debt collection calls.

I contacted the provider and informed them they are providing phone service to scammers and requested the contact information behind the number. My initial thought and intent is to go after the scammers in court as if they were valid debt collectors and have made egregious violations of the FDCPA. I figure it's likely an easy payday because they're not going to want to go into open court with their scams, but I'm wondering if I should also get law enforcement involved. I'm plotting my next move and am looking for suggestions and a little of the collected knowledge here at CIC.

What do you think? Should I go after them in court? Should I just turn their info over to the FTC? Local cops? FBI? Secret Service?

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1 hour ago, tempteroffate said:

My initial thought and intent is to go after the scammers in court as if they were valid debt collectors and have made egregious violations of the FDCPA. I figure it's likely an easy payday because they're not going to want to go into open court with their scams, but I'm wondering if I should also get law enforcement involved. 

COMPLETE waste of time.  

First:  they are "spoofing" the numbers and the chances of tracking them down are ZERO.  They are probably not even in the USA.  They are most likely using prepaid burner cell phones which are untraceable.  

Second:  it isn't an "easy" payday at all.  Assuming you could even locate them to properly serve them it won't matter.  They won't show up to court and even if you get a default judgment you won't find them to collect and they are not going to throw go away money at you either.  They will close up shop, relocate, and start over somewhere else.

Last:  Law enforcement does not have the time or resources to waste on a low level issue like this.  They will tell you to simply hang up on them.

1 hour ago, tempteroffate said:

What do you think? Should I go after them in court? Should I just turn their info over to the FTC? Local cops? FBI? Secret Service?

None of the above.  You are chasing a phantom.  Even legitimate consumer attorneys won't waste time going after them.  

Do what I do:  waste their time!  If you tie them up they can't target anyone else for that brief time.  In fact read this:  Scammers Call Programmer

Scammers called a person impersonating the IRS.  What they didn't know was the guy they called is actually a programmer who writes software dealing with scum like them.  He immediately wrote a program that called them REPEATEDLY and tied up all their lines.  Unless  you have that level of talent and resources let it go.

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@tempteroffate

The first step in getting a "payday" is locating the caller.   The second step would be to prove the person to which that number was assigned made the calls.

In the event the above was accomplished, does the caller have money or assets?

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