Posted: Jun 18, 2012 3:02 PM by KATC
The BBB of Acadiana alerts residents to be wary of imposters posing as debt collectors. The BBB has received numerous calls on this scam, which involves illegal data harvesting maneuvers, fraudulent debt collectors accumulate long lists of phone numbers of people they plan to victimize.
According to the BBB, people with low credit scores as well as payday loan borrowers are frequently targeted by scammers trying to collect on a debt that may not even exist. Don't be scared or intimidated-that's just what they want.
The following companies have been reported to the BBB with names that sound trustworthy, but are, in fact, completely fabricated: Financial Accountability, The Anderson Law Associates, American Law and United Attorney Services.
United Attorney Services has an F rating with the BBB due to 32 complaints filed against the business, failure to respond to 32 complaints and the BBB does not have sufficient background information on the business despite requests.
The BBB Business Review reads, "Complainants allege the company contacts them concerning non-existent pay day loan debts, using appalling tactics, such as threats of physical violence, arrest, or incarceration. Consumers also complain that company personnel use various harassment tactics in order to coerce them into providing payment information without properly identifying themselves or the alleged creditor. The company has not responded to complaints presented by our office."
According to the BBB report, this company may have previously, or may be currently using the names, Financial Accountability, The Anderson Law Associates, or American Law. All of these companies have similar operations and all but American Law have the same address. For all of these companies, complainants report that company representatives have heavy foreign accents, and the calls may actually be coming from a call center in India.
United Attorney Services' BBB Business Review can be found online at:
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) regulates the manner in which debt collectors may contact you, what is permissible to say, and the timeframe in which they can call. Knowing your rights can help you spot fraudulent practices of criminals targeting your personal information and funds.
According to the FDCPA, a debt collector may not:
Threaten you with violence
Use obscene language
Call constantly in order to irritate
Tell anyone other than you about a debt you may owe
Anyone engaging in these types of activities is either attempting to engage in fraudulent activity or violating the law. In either situation, you should report the caller to the police and the Federal Trade Commission by filing a complaint on the FTC's site.
Here are some tips that will help you determine the authenticity of a debt collector:
· The FDCPA requires all debt collectors to provide written proof of a debt within five days of initial contact. Demand this from a debt collector. If they won't comply, they are a scam.
· Demand identification verification. Ask for the caller's name and who they work for. Find the company online or contact the Better Business Bureau to check that the company and its employee are who they are supposed to be.
· Get an email address from the caller. Any company without its own domain name, like @bankofamerica.com, should be considered suspicious. Anyone can open a Gmail or Yahoo account.
· Never give out your personal information. A debt collector does not need your social security, bank account, or credit card number. Don't even confirm information they give you. Wait for written verification before you do anything.
The BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses. Please contact the BBB at www.acadiana.bbb.org or (337) 981-3497 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America.
The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.
Acadiana residents can now have BBB information in the palm of their hand with the official BBB Search app, a convenient, mobile BBB solution available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The app can be found at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bbb-search-find-local-businesses/id440014505?mt=8.