Ataal

Advice on a possible scam?

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I've worked in IT for over two decades.  I advise people all the time on scams(mostly e-mail related), especially my users at work.  But, apparently, it's a whole different thing when it happens to me.

I received a phone call from a private number.  I was at work at the time, so I didn't answer it.  They left a voicemail stating they were from the "County Courier Office."  She said she was a dispatcher, stated her name, and operator ID.  She said that she was in the process of serving me and to contact the collector at an 833 area code with a reference number of 68782AZ.  About 15 minutes later, my mother received the same phone call, but mentioned a "background check" on her voicemail message.  My mother actually called me to see if I was applying for another job.  

Freaked out, I called the 833 number.  "Shannon" said that it was in regards to a Bank of America checking account in the order of $850, $200 in overdraft, $600+ in late fees.  I opened up that account in 2004.  Maybe used it a year.  It hasn't been on my credit report in years.  It is definitely not on there from February of 2018, for sure.   "Shannon" said that if they go through litigation, I am on the hook for lawyer and court fees on top of the $850 and would settle it over the phone for $650 in one lump sum or they would allow me to make three payments to cover the $850.  I'm in shock at this point, because I just purchased a new car after a wreck, and there's no way I can come up with that kind of money right now.  She asked why I didn't respond to the letter they sent out 45 days ago.  I keep mail for months.  I went through every single piece of mail I had.  Nothing.

Here is where I did something stupid.  I said I could come up with $100 today if that would show some good faith and get on a payment plan once a month until it's paid off.  At the time, it all sounded so legit.  They knew about that account, the last four of my social, knew my mother's number(who helped me set up that account in 2004), etc... After I had given her my card info, she sounded like she was reading through a script and asked if I am authorizing her to take the money from my account.  That must have been the point where I got over the anxiety a little and the logic center of my brain kicked in.  I then asked to hold on a second before I authorize anything.  I asked which company she was with.  She said "Lindell Mediation Group Services."  I got on my work phone immediately to look that name up.  Nothing.  I asked if they had a website.  She said they used to, but they got so many threats from people, so they took it down.  She then asked if I would feel more comfortable if she sent me an email to sign.  As an IT guy, I was more than happy to have an email address from them to do some research on them.

The email came from admin@lmgservices.org

I found it immediately odd that it came from a .org domain.  Although there is no rule against it, they are generally used for non-profit organizations and the like.  The domain itself was created in May of 2018.  The email itself is a valid address(so possibly not spoofed), but one validation check said that it could not accept any more messages due to being too full.  It also seemed a little weird they used admin as the email address. 

I then received a notification on my phone that a pending transaction had shown up on my phone.  It was for $100 and the information was:

FoothillMgmt860-397-1672

Location:

860-397-1672, CA 90807

After a Google search, it appears that, in California, Foothill Management is a property management company.  But, the phone number provided is in Connecticut.  I called the number.  No one answered, but a recording said, "You have reached the litigation department, please call back during normal business hours with your name and case number."   Or, something similar to that.  I'm going by memory.  No company name, just "litigation department."

At this point, I'm leaning more towards scam than legit, so I called my card company and they will be sending me a new card.

I'm still freaking out over this because of the "what if" factor.  Can anyone please offer me assurance, either way?  I just want to know,  you know?

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@Ataal

Neither plaintiffs nor process servers contact defendants ahead of time to notify them of impending service.   Check your court dockets to make sure no lawsuit has been filed, but I’d be very surprised if you found anything.  

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BV80, thank you for your recommendation on checking the courts.

Assuming I did it right, under civil lawsuits, my name is not listed.  I even checked just my last name to see if they used a different first name.  I did, however, find something about my cousin I probably shouldn't know about.  lol

So, is that it, then?  Definitely a scam if no cases have been filed?  I know collection companies can do some pretty shady stuff.  But, I keep going back to the fact that the last possible year that account had any activity was 2006.  12, almost 13 years ago.  According to a few Google searches, the statute of limitations in Arizona is 6 years.  Is it possible that there is a loophole to extend that limit?

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19 minutes ago, Ataal said:

BV80, thank you for your recommendation on checking the courts.

Assuming I did it right, under civil lawsuits, my name is not listed.  I even checked just my last name to see if they used a different first name.  I did, however, find something about my cousin I probably shouldn't know about.  lol

So, is that it, then?  Definitely a scam if no cases have been filed?  I know collection companies can do some pretty shady stuff.  But, I keep going back to the fact that the last possible year that account had any activity was 2006.  12, almost 13 years ago.  According to a few Google searches, the statute of limitations in Arizona is 6 years.  Is it possible that there is a loophole to extend that limit?

@Harry Seaward and @Goody_Ouchless are from AZ.  They can tell you if there are any loopholes, but I doubt there are any.   Absent that, it’s a scam. 

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1 hour ago, Ataal said:

the statute of limitations in Arizona is 6 years.  Is it possible that there is a loophole to extend that limit?

It is 6 years,  absolute maximum. And I'm certain this is a scam.

I had something almost identical happen to me last year. They claimed to be "mediators" and that the debt was actually owned by someone else. Enough of it sounded legit. They knew my  birthdate and last 4 of my social. I also panicked because we were right in the middle of buying a house, and I was still within SOL. The initial person I spoke to was so obnoxious that I called the number they gave me for the debt owner. That person was very nice. I offered to pay them directly and she told me they couldn't accept my money because it had to come from a debt collector. She said she was going to reassign it to a different agency. I never heard another word about it. 

In your case, they would actually be doing you a favor by suing you out of SOL, since you could file counterclaims for FDCPA violations. 

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**breathes sigh of relief**

Thank you both so much for responding.  I've stressed so much over this over the past couple of days.  

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Side note, if you had actually made a payment, it would have restarted the SOL. Since you stopped short of authorizing the funds transfer, you're in the clear. 

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On 10/19/2018 at 9:14 PM, Harry Seaward said:

Side note, if you had actually made a payment, it would have restarted the SOL. Since you stopped short of authorizing the funds transfer, you're in the clear. 

Update:  Apparently, even though I called to have a new card issued, the payment still went through.  I'm disputing it because I still didn't authorize it, but even if it is disputed, and taken off, does that still count as a payment activity?  Thus, restarting the statute of limitations?  My stomach is in knots right now.  :(

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I predict this will get ugly. A dispute isn't an automatic reversal, no questions asked. Your bank will give them an opportunity to respond to the dispute and they are going to say you did authorize it as evidenced by the fact that you gave them your card info.  Plus, they have a recording of that telephone conversation, so if it sounds even remotely like you authorized it, the bank will give it to them. If the recording helps them, they will definitely let the bank hear it. If it helps you, it doesn't exist. This is why it's imperative to always make your own recording of every conversation with debt collectors. 

And yes, it counts as a payment and does restart the SOL clock. 

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Wasn't there AZ case law that a payment, or promise to pay, or whatever, does NOT restart SOL if it has already run? I could swear that came up during research into the three vs six year SOL change.

 

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22 minutes ago, Goody_Ouchless said:

Wasn't there AZ case law that a payment, or promise to pay, or whatever, does NOT restart SOL if it has already run?

Yes, i believe so, and i didn't realize this debt was as old as it is.

If it is in fact 12 years old, and the bank doesn't return the money, then the most you have lost is the payment you made, and the SOL has not been reset. Considering these guys appear to be scammers, I'd be surprised if they put up any fight over the dispute. 

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Well, that's some good news!   I'll go ahead and cross my fingers, toes, and eyes that is true.  

And, if I end up losing $100, I'm never answering my phone again!  I'm newly diabetic.  Between the meds still needing a little tweaking and the stress from this, my sugar levels have been out of control.  I can't wait to get this all behind me.

Thank you all for your responses.  I truly appreciate the time you take out of your day to help those of us who have never had to deal with this kind of stuff before.  Not all heroes wear capes!

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I didn't read back before my earlier response, so that was my mistake. I apologize if i gave you a heart attack. 

Good luck, and like i said, if they really are scammers, i doubt they will put up any fuss over the dispute. 

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Ataal,

sorry to restart this thread but did you ever find out if this was a legitimate company or a complete scam apparently my wife paid them 600$. I was unfortunately at work and they threatened to “serve her at work/home.”

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On 3/27/2019 at 4:45 PM, ZeekKlawz said:

Ataal,

sorry to restart this thread but did you ever find out if this was a legitimate company or a complete scam apparently my wife paid them 600$. I was unfortunately at work and they threatened to “serve her at work/home.”

It's an absolute scam.  Servers and lawsuits do not work over the phone like this.

NEVER pay something over the phone.  Tell them you will meet them at the nearest police station to accept service of their lawsuit. Watch how fast they hang up.

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Is anyone still on this thread? I am freaking out. Just paid these guys 1500. I am so mad and scared i wont get my noney back they did take n

My credit card so im freaking! They had my social  last 5. Same exact email u mentioned and the number attached to my transaction goes to a litigation department.

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1 hour ago, Chris6982 said:
 

Is anyone still on this thread? I am freaking out. Just paid these guys 1500. I am so mad and scared i wont get my noney back they did take n

My credit card so im freaking! They had my social  last 5. Same exact email u mentioned and the number attached to my transaction goes to a litigation department.

How did you pay them? Is it possible to stop or reverse the payment?

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1 hour ago, Chris6982 said:

Is anyone still on this thread? I am freaking out. Just paid these guys 1500. I am so mad and scared i wont get my noney back they did take n

My credit card so im freaking! They had my social  last 5. Same exact email u mentioned and the number attached to my transaction goes to a litigation department.

Did you say you paid by credit card?  If so, call the CC company NOW and report it as fraud.  NOW.  Don't wait another minute.  

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There are things you can do if there has been identity theft. 

 

First, call your local police department.  This is an extremely important step.  Report this as identity theft and fraud.  Make sure you file a police report, and get a copy of the report.  This will make things easier for you later.  

Second, call your credit card company to get your  account changed.  You can’t use your card until the new one comes, but neither can they.  Have your current card stopped. Now.  Unless you have already done so.  

Third, contact the three major credit reporting agencies.  Have holds placed on your account so that nobody can apply for credit without your written permission.  This will make it harder for you to get credit, but a LOT harder for anyone else to use your info to get credit.  

The police or credit card company may have additional suggestions. 

This may be a minor annoyance or it could be a huge problem.  If you take these steps you at least have some protection 

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