The Feds recently turned the tables on shady debt collectors, arresting the founder and several employees of an unscrupulous debt collection agency in Georgia for running a $4 million dollar debt collection scam which targeted at least 6,000 people across the US, including people here in California.
Debt collecting is as old as borrowing money. If you take out a loan and fail to pay it back, the creditor is going to come looking for the money they are owed. Legitimate debt collection companies will call and try to make arrangements for you to repay the debt. If you still can’t pay, the creditor will likely take you to court and pursue a judgment against you. This court order can be used to garnish your paycheck or bank account and/or repossess the item you used the money to buy. All of these tactics are allowed under both California and Federal law.
Corrupt debt collectors will demand that you pay the debt immediately “or else,” call at all hours of the day and night, threaten to have you arrested, tell you they are going to take away your home or have you fired, and insult and harass you. Devious debt collectors send official looking letters with images or symbols that imply legal documents are enclosed. Debt collection agencies attempt to collect debt that is old, well beyond the statute of limitations in which the debt can be collected (here in California, the statute of limitations to collect on debt is 4 years).
But now, debt collectors are on notice that the law is not on their side. Seven people were arrested at the debt collection company Williams, Scott and Associates of Atlanta and charged with using illegal debt collection tactics to scam people out of money. Other agencies that employ similar techniques need to change their procedures because the U.S. Attorney General, FBI, and the Federal Trade Commission are on the hunt.