Scambook Warns of Debt Collectors Impersonating Lawyers and Texting Victims

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Scambook, the Internet’s leading online consumer advocacy platform, is warning consumers that a debt collection agency under the name National Attorney Collection Services recently came under fire for impersonating a law firm and falsely threatening to sue debtors. Customers were being harassed through text messages and were sent notices in envelopes printed with images of a person being “shaken down.” * (Case Number CV13-06212)

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It's illegal for debt collectors to harass debtors, use deceptive practices, or publicly expose an individual’s private debt to any third party such as a family member, neighbor, or coworker.

Scambook, the Internet’s leading online consumer advocacy platform, is warning consumers that a debt collection agency under the name National Attorney Collection Services recently came under fire for impersonating a law firm and falsely threatening to sue debtors. Customers were being harassed through text messages and were sent notices in envelopes printed with images of a person being “shaken down.” * (Case Number CV13-06212)

“Consumers need to know their rights when dealing with debt collectors. It's illegal for debt collectors to harass debtors, use deceptive practices, or publicly expose an individual’s private debt to any third party such as a family member, neighbor, or coworker,” said Scambook’s Director of Marketing Kase Chong.

Although sending texts to debtors isn’t illegal, giving the impression that they are a law firm with the company name “National Attorney Collection Services,” and not disclosing that they are in fact a debt collector, is warranted as a violation. The National Attorney Collection Services also threatened to sue consumers to make them pay debts.

In addition, the printed images of people being “shaken down” are exposing someone’s private debt. Mailed envelopes can only include a name and the address of the company, and cannot indicate that the consumer owes a debt as this can jeopardize a person’s job or reputation. The National Attorney Collection Services are now faced with a $1 million civil penalty. **

Scambook advises debtors to know their following rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA): ***

1.    Ask for a written request: Debtors are allowed to ask debt collectors to stop calling and remove their phone number. Debt collectors then must write a written request to get in contact with the debtor.

2.    Disallow contact at work: A debtor is allowed to ask a debt collector to not contact their place of work.

3.    Harassment is not allowed: No debt collector is allowed to harass a debtor by way of phone, text, or alternate form of communication.

4.    No contact of third parties: Family members and neighbors are not allowed to be harassed by debt collectors in order to get in contact with the debtor.

About Scambook

Scambook is an online complaint resolution platform dedicated to obtaining justice for victims of fraud with unprecedented speed and accuracy. By building communities and providing resources on the latest scams, Scambook arms consumers with the up-to-date information they need to stay on top of emerging schemes. Since its inception, Scambook has resolved over $10 million in reported consumer damages. For more information, visit scambook.com.

*Federal Trade Commission, http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/1223032/130925nacstip.pdf 08/23/2013

**Pfeifer, Stuart, “Collection agency fined $1 million for unlawfully texting debtors,” http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-collection-agency-that-used-text-messages-to-pay-1-million-penalty-20130925,0,5162655.story 9/25/2013

***Expert Law, “The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA),” http://www.expertlaw.com/library/consumer/fair_debt_collection.html 01/01/2011

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Lisa Inouye
PMBC Group
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