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Fraud/scam alert? Johnson Mark??


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Hello, my mother is disabled & does not know English. We recently received a letter from Johnson Mark stating that she owes $$$$ to a credit card in which we’ve never knew she had. When asked, she did not know she had one - we’ve never used it! It is a large sum. So how do I go about to proving that this might’ve been a scam? Or fraud?? Idk what the card even looks like??? But apparently they got all her info - name and address correctly. Someone please help me…. 

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6 hours ago, Amy park said:

Hello, my mother is disabled & does not know English. We recently received a letter from Johnson Mark stating that she owes $$$$ to a credit card in which we’ve never knew she had. When asked, she did not know she had one - we’ve never used it! It is a large sum. So how do I go about to proving that this might’ve been a scam? Or fraud?? Idk what the card even looks like??? But apparently they got all her info - name and address correctly. Someone please help me…. 

Does it include the 30-day dispute and validation notice?  Would it be possible for you to show us a copy of the letter with all personal identification information redacted? 

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This needs to be taken seriously 
 

Either this is identity theft or else your mother has a large debt she can’t remember  

I looked up Johnson Mark.  They are a debt collection law firm.  Which means they might sue if you blow them off. 
 

The DV letter is essential.  Keep it very short and simple.   Use your mother’s name but do NOT have her sign anything. That way they won’t have her signature 
 

Example:

 

Dear Johnson Mark,

I do not recognize this alleged debt.  I demand validation. 
 

Yours,

{Your mother’s name}

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From my research, this organization is bad news and violates FDCPA regularly, performs sewer service, if you happen to answer your court summons and complaint, the tell you not to respond or that you do not need to be in court, and even try to garnish exempt funds such as SSI/SSDI. I do not tell you this to scare you but to arm you with how to deal with these people.

Here are some things you can do:

1) As @BV80suggested, look for the 30 day dispute statement on the letter. If there is not one, they have already violated the FDCPA. They will state that they contacted you prior to this letter but I am sure they will violate further.
 

2) Regardless of if the statement is on the letter or not, I would send a dispute letter anyways. Don't use anything on the internet as they are too wordy and demand things the JDB is not required to give you. A simple "I dispute this debt and demand validation." is fine. You might also want to let them know when you received their letter as I am sure mail is slow getting to Hawaii.

3) Check you local courts to see if they filed a case against you as if they do sewer service, you might not know. Check courts on other islands too just in case they try to sue in the wrong court.

4) If you are sure this is identity theft, go to the police station and immediately file a report. The police are required to file a report on this type of crime by law.

5) If you mother is on SSI/SSDI, immediately go to the bank and have them mark the account as exempt funds. If you mother receives any other moneys, remove those from the account. Also, make sure any exempt funds do not stay in the account for more than 2 months.

6) Unfortunately, you cannot represent your mother in court and with her being disabled and not able to speak English, these people will railroad her. I would look for a decent consumer attorney to represent her. If this firm has already violated the law, they might take the case for free because they can collect on the FDCPA violation if proven in court.

Again, take this seriously. You can be sure these people are.

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The second step is:

Determine to the best of your ability whether this is a real or fraudulent debt.  
 

This should be done as soon as possible.  If there is doubt you can wait for the response to the DV, but you need to act ASAP once you get the DV. They might sue in a few weeks or even less.  Or not. Hard to tell.  
 

If it is your mother’s sincere belief that the debt is fraudulent, get her to file a police report ASAP. This can usually be done over the phone, but you may or may not need to go to the station.  Call first. 
 

You will be needed for kokua and possibly needed for translation.  Judging from the name “Park” my guess is she speaks Korean.  Many police stations in Hawai’i will have someone who can translate.  
 

If your mother determines it is not fraudulent, let us know the approximate amount and original creditor. That will determine your strategy. 

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4 minutes ago, WhoCares1000 said:


6) Unfortunately, you cannot represent your mother in court and with her being disabled and not able to speak English, these people will railroad her. I would look for a decent consumer attorney to represent her. If this firm has already violated the law, they might take the case for free because they can collect on the FDCPA violation if proven in court.

Again, take this seriously. You can be sure these people are.

To add to this excellent advice:

It is absolutely essential that we know the original creditor.  The reason:

Arbitration 

 

You cannot represent your mother in court but you can represent her in arbitration.  

Some cards have an arbitration provision.  Some have a provision which makes it necessary to file in arbitration before they file in court.  
Some have no arbitration provision. 

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22 minutes ago, BackFromTheDebt said:

To add to this excellent advice:

It is absolutely essential that we know the original creditor.  The reason:

Arbitration 

 

You cannot represent your mother in court but you can represent her in arbitration.  

Some cards have an arbitration provision.  Some have a provision which makes it necessary to file in arbitration before they file in court.  
Some have no arbitration provision. 

This is why we need to know everything that was in the letter.  We need to know exactly what was stated and if it possible contained a disclaimer that the debt is outside the SOL and too old for a lawsuit to filed.  If that disclaimer was included, the OP’s mother would have no worries and could send a cease and desist.

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2 hours ago, BackFromTheDebt said:

To add to this excellent advice:

It is absolutely essential that we know the original creditor.  The reason:

Arbitration 

 

You cannot represent your mother in court but you can represent her in arbitration.  

Some cards have an arbitration provision.  Some have a provision which makes it necessary to file in arbitration before they file in court.  
Some have no arbitration provision. 

If this really is identity theft then arbitration would be the absolute worst defense ever.  You need to slow down.  You are jumping so far ahead before any necessary facts are known to choose the best path in dealing with this.

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It doesn’t hurt to bring up the possibilities. 
 

When the alleged debtor is possibly incapable of properly defending herself in court, preemptive arbitration is often the best strategy.  

 

One time my wife was threatened by a law suit from a well known creditor.  She would not have been able to defend herself in court. I helped her file for arbitration with me as an unpaid non-attorney representative.  She wound up collecting money instead of paying.  That worked because I had the strategy planned out years in advance.  
 

 

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