West Virginia Warns Against Abusive Debt Collectors

31 Aug West Virginia Warns Against Abusive Debt Collectors

Darrel McGraw, West Virginia Attorney General recently warned the public about scam artists who are threatening consumers about Internet payday loans they never obtained, or paid off several years ago.

McGraw says the scammers pose as law enforcement officers, investigators, lawyers and bankers. They have heavy, foreign accents, indicating they may be from off shore locations or foreign countries, including India. Thus far, they have been impossible to locate and prosecute.

ABC News notes that the scammers often use obvious fake names, like Denzel Washington or Steve Martin. They call their debt collection agencies believable names, such as US National Bank or United Legal Processing.  One man claims to have worked for them in a company called Financial Crime Division.

These scammers are hard hitting. They threaten consumers with arrest and use phrases that sound like legal terms to the average consumer. They call at all hours, several times a day.  One consumer stated in his interview with ABC News that they frightened him so much, he wired them $800, even though he knew he had paid the debt.

The scammers use unusual tactics when a consumer denies the debt and says they won’t pay. The scammer replies by saying, “only God can help you now”.

They also harass employers and family members. They call employers and tell the supervisor that their employee has committed fraud and is going to be arrested.

West Virginia residents aren’t the only ones to be scammed. The Florida Attorney General’s office has heard dozens of complaints about the US National Bank.

Attorney General McGraw states the consumer’s best defense is to be informed of the scam so that all demands can be resisted, in spite of frightening but false threats.  But we here at the Debt Law Network caution that consumers who are subject to abusive debt collectors take the additional step of hiring a qualified attorney to help protect their rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

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Jay S. Fleischman is a bankruptcy lawyer with offices in Los Angeles and New York. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.
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