We recently chronicled the integrated investigative efforts of several federal agencies in identifying the widespread abusive debt collection practices of one company acting nationally.
That company reportedly pursued debt repayment encompassing both some legitimate debt exactions and alleged payments owed that, as we noted in a recent website article on scurrilous debt collection, were “created out of thin air.” At least 6,000 debtors were targeted nationally.
Our article pointed out that collection scams can bring both civil and criminal penalties for a collector engaged in fraudulent and intimidating actions against consumers.
We consider it a public service to occasionally remind our readers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere that strong sanctions can be applied against agents of fraud who engage in deceptive and coercive conduct to extract money from innocent persons.
In the above-cited case, for example, a vast sting operation was jointly conducted by federal agencies that included the FBI, the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Seven persons arrested for their extensive scam efforts were criminally charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Our article termed as “draconian” some of the collection effort strategies employed to wrest money from victims. Callers misrepresented themselves as law enforcement officials and attorneys, threatened to arrest and imprison debtors and engaged in a number of other harassing and intimidating behaviors.
Any consumer who is ever subjected to such conduct should reach out immediately for help. A proven consumer protection attorney can provide knowledgeable guidance regarding what is legal behavior and what clearly transcends legal boundaries in collection efforts.
Additionally, a lawyer who commands experience working on behalf of consumers who are targeted in scams can take timely and effective actions that fully promote a client’s interests and that can potentially include a lawsuit for damages in state or federal court.