Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Scammers Aren’t Just For Grannies Anymore

 I am not an expert, lawyer or in any way stating you should listen to me. I am a victim (that physically hurt to say btw) and I am relaying my story.

I remember hearing awful stories about nice young gentlemen showing up at Granny’s house and walking away with her life savings. Whether it was for charity, or an investment, the ‘scam’ artist was usually easy to spot, at least I thought they were. They are, if I am being honest. They know it too which is why they employ some nasty tricks to get them to do what they want. They use guilt, conscience, and fear to make you move forward with a given scenario.  
So as you have guessed by now, I have been scammed out of some money. Yes, I feel like a dunce. My particular scammer was successful for several reasons, and if I had been a little more educated their trick would not have worked so easily on me. First, there are rules to the collection game, yes I owe people money, who doesn’t? However, my lack of knowledge in regard to the rules has reared its head as the mistake #1. Mistake # 2 was letting emotion, fear and or guilt ‘convince’ you. Like Granny I want to do the right thing. I want to help the starving children in Africa, and or I want to invest in swamp area in Florida! I owe people money and thus I feel guilty and ashamed these people were contacting me. Scammer’s use fear language and the promise of a settlement to ‘make the debt right’. So my brain sayspay off the debt, no more guiltWAHOO!  

NOT!

First, some definitions, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is the nation’s consumer protection agency. The FTC enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you. Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is someone who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them.
Mistake #1 – Rules of Engagement - there are a few big things to keep any eye out for as indicators of fraud.
Misspellings in communication
Grammatical errors in communication
Threatening or hostile language
Saying you will be Sued for Debt - If you are actually sued for a debt, you won’t get a call. Instead, you will be served with a legal notice (typically a complaint and summons) that contains instructions for responding. A variation on this scam is when someone calls and says that a lawsuit will be filed immediately if you don’t pay. That can also be a red flag: Under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, collectors can’t threaten to take action they can’t legally take or don’t intend to take. If you are sued, you must be given time to respond.
Stating they are Law Enforcement - The caller may even offer to give you his or her “badge number.” This is almost a certain sign of a scam: Local law enforcement is not going to call you to try to collect a personal debt, and the FBI certainly won’t. If they claim to work with the sheriff’s office or FBI, tell them you will call them back at the published number for that agency. No doubt you’ll find out they were lying.
Here are the Rules of Engagement from the FTC for debt collection in the United States:
Contact - Debt collectors can contact you by phone, letter, email, or text message to collect a debt, as long as they follow the rules and disclose that they are debt collectors. No matter how they communicate with you, it’s against the law for a debt collector to pretend to be someone else — like an attorney or government agency — or to harass, threaten or deceive you to act. A debt collector may not contact you at inconvenient times or places, such as before 8 in the morning or after 9 at night, unless you agree to it. And collectors may not contact you at work if they’re told (orally or in writing) that you’re not allowed to get calls there.
Harassment. Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you or any third parties they contact. For example, they may not:
use threats of violence or harm;
publish a list of names of people who refuse to pay their debts (but they can give this information to the credit reporting companies);
use obscene or profane language; or
repeatedly use the phone to annoy someone.
False statements. Debt collectors may not lie when they are trying to collect a debt. For example, they may not:
falsely claim that they are attorneys or government representatives;
falsely claim that you have committed a crime;
falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit reporting company;
misrepresent the amount you owe;
indicate that papers they send you are legal forms if they aren’t; or
indicate that papers they send to you aren’t legal forms if they are.
Debt collectors also are prohibited from saying that:
you will be arrested if you don’t pay your debt;
they’ll seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages unless they are permitted by law to take the action and intend to do so; or
legal action will be taken against you, if doing so would be illegal or if they don’t intend to take the action.
Debt collectors may not:
give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit reporting company;
send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency if it isn’t; or
use a false company name.
Unfair practices. Debt collectors may not engage in unfair practices when they try to collect a debt. For example, they may not:
try to collect any interest, fee, or other charge on top of the amount you owe unless the contract that created your debt – or your state law – allows the charge;
deposit a post-dated check early;
take or threaten to take your property unless it can be done legally; or
contact you by postcard.
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Below is a copy of the letter I received, I have marked out any revealing information, but I also wanted to share it so if you see something like this you are aware. Actually pathetic I fell for it now that I am reading it again…ugh.
BEWARE and BE CAREFUL! I also found this notification in regards to these kinds of SCAMS Extortion Scam Related to Delinquent Payday Loans
I also filed a complaint here.
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FINAL AND LAST CHANCE TO GET SETTLE THE CASE #SD5-987485
 
NAME XXX-XX-XXX
Case file #SD5-987485
Settlement amount offered $
   Your case file #SD5-987485 are handling by LEGAL DEPARTMENT OF , So now you may cooperate them in order to resolve the case file #SD5-987485. You can reach on for further more information.
  We had sent you the so many notification regarding this matter, but still you didn’t responded us, if you failed to reply us with positive intention after this email then we will have to download your case file in the court house on Sept 3 2015.
  We are talking about the loan that you took with the company due to penalty charges, interest charges and attorney charges the amount rises up to $1050.50 , and  they do have a signed copy of the contract which is signed under your e-mail address --also would like to mention your computer's IP address was also traced. When you were signing the contract with the company. The company have more than 14 technical evidence in order to prove the money was successfully deposited into your bank account.
    NOTE: IF YOU IGNORED THIS EMAIL AND FAILED TO TAKE CARE OF THIS DEBT THEN ALL OF YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS INCLUDING WILL BE SEIZED THRU MAJOR CREDIT BUREAUS WITHIN NEXT SEVEN BUSINESS DAYS THAT’S WHY YOUR CO-OPERATION WOULD BE REALLY APPRECIATED.
    Do reply us ASAP with option so we can update at legal department in order to stop all this legal consequences against your Name and SSN .
    BEFORE YOUR CASE FILE #SD5-987485 WILL BE DOWNLOADED.
  NOTE : KINDLY LET US KNOW IF YOU ARE WILLING TO RESOLVE THIS CASE SO THAT WE CAN OFFER YOU THE SETTLE  AMOUNT OF $ AND IF DON’T THEN WE HAVE TO DOWNLOAD THIS CASE FORCEFULLY AGAINST INTO THE COURT HOUSE. INFORMED TO YOUR EMPLOYER PLACE WHERE DID YOU WORKED BEFORE Ricoh  
    This is in reference to your Case File #SD5-987485 with in order to notify you that after sending several emails and we were not able to get hold of you. So the IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center) has decided to mark this case as a flat refusal and press charges against you.
  Once your case file forwarded by us legal department, you account will be considered as not paid anything because you have never did any reply from a long time. After taking action against your name and SSN your case file will be forwarded to the courthouse.
  And once you found guilty into the court house than you have to bear the entire cost for this law suit $4518.15 which is excluding loan amount, attorney's fees, and the interest charges.
 if you failed to update us with cooperate us then be ready for going into jail under FDCA for 3 Years, and We will seize your all bank account and hold on SSN,
    Your account with is in Final Collections. According to our records, your outstanding balance was $.
  So, we are just giving you a last chance that if you just make a payment by today or tomorrow then we will close this account as paid in full with zero balance.
We do hope that you will work with one of the best option in order to settle this matter or else we won't be able to hold your case file #SD5-987485.
  Do revert back if you want to get rid of these legal consequences and want to make payments within the next 48 hours or else the case will be downloaded against you.
  The opportunity to take care of this voluntary is quickly coming to an end. We would hate for you to lose the option of resolving this before it goes to the next step which is a Lawsuit against you, but to do so you must take immediate action.
  You can avoid this by taking care of this now.
  It is quick and easy:
Do reply us right now and provide us the date on which you can make the payment.
  If you do not take immediate action we will be forced to download this case against you and once it is downloaded the creditor has entire rights to inform your employer regarding this and if you are found guilty under the bench of jury then you have to bear a law suit which will be amounting to $4515.85 and will be totally levied upon you and that would be excluding your bail charges, your attorney charges and the due amount pending on your name $1050.50
  Thanks for being our customer,
  Best Wishes,
Settlement Department
Sept 1 2015
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