Collection Agency Scams
Scams are on the rise!! Just in the past week, like thousands of other Americans, my clients, as well as myself, have been the targets of scams trying to get either personal information such as social security numbers or collect on old or illegitimate debts.
Just last week I received two emails to my work e-mail address wherein individuals claimed they lived in Japan and had debts that were owed to them in the United States and that they would like to retain my services as an attorney. After searching these individual’s names on the internet, I found numerous sites which posted the exact same e-mail stating that this was no more than a scam trying to get money out of attorneys.
Also, a client of mine received a collection letter from a company named “Bureau of Recovery, LLC” stating that he owed over $200,000.00 for a home loan he had with Chase. Knowing full well that this debt was no longer owed, I contacted Chase who was unable to find my client’s account. When I called the Bureau of Recovery back, the first thing that I was asked was “What is your social security number?” Of course, this sounded very suspicious and I contacted Chase again who informed me that Chase does not use third parties to collect debts and that it was most likely a scam.
Lesson to be learned: Identity Theft and Fraud are on the rise right now. There are people posing as collection agents who are searching public records (especially real estate records) to find debts people may have owed at some point in time. Just because you receive a letter or phone call from a so-called collection agency with some information about you does not make them a legitimate company. DO NOT EVER GIVE OUT ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION SUCH AS SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS OR FINANCIAL INFORMATION. DO NOT MAKE ANY PAYMENTS BY PHONE EITHER. Contact the original debtor immediately and do as much research as you can on the internet.