I’m doing a bonus post this week as a good reminder and a public service announcement to everyone about the most recent telephone based scammers.
Scammers are getting more creative
This is August 2018.
I have now received at least one phone call a month since May 2018 saying that I’m being sued and that they need to serve me papers.
Each call has come from different area codes, the people calling have very different accents, and in my case, they have used very different versions of my name – I’m one of the lucky people with five legal names.
The first couple of months, I became panicked when I got these calls.
What!? I haven’t done anything
But then I got smart.
First, notate the number they are calling from.
Second, treat this like you are an administrative assistant and need additional information from the caller.
- Pause for paper and pen.
- Ask for them to spell their name.
- Get their call back telephone number.
- Gather additional information. Who is this coming from? When will this occur?
If the caller begins to use aggressive tactics, I tell them that they are now being recorded. At which time they will generally promptly hang up.
Remember: Any genuine debt collector or process-server is not allowed to use aggressive behaviors or harassment based on The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) which states debt collectors can‘t harass, oppress, or abuse you or anyone else they contact.
The callers I have been dealing with state that I will need to be available at my home on a certain date and time otherwise a bench warrant will be issued.
They need to at the very least try to serve the papers and try to reach you by snail mail before the judge will issue a bench warrant. (This is harassment on top of being a lie)
Out of curiosity, I’ve worked from home on those days. Nobody has ever shown up at my home.
Also, nobody is able to access my office without signing in at security with a photo ID and being verified by calling our office. Nope, only clients have come to my office.
My most recent call went like this:
Lady: You need to be home Monday between 12 and 5 so I can serve you papers in a lawsuit in which you are being called to testify by the state of California.
Me: Oh. You can’t serve me at my office?
Lady: Uh, uh, I can try one time to serve you there. If you aren’t there we will issue a bench warrant.
Me: Ok. What is this regarding, again?
Lady: You are being criminally sued by a third-party.
Me: Wait, I thought I was being called to testify? Who are these papers coming from? How can YOU issue a bench warrant?
Lady: mumbles the name of a “law firm” and hangs up.
Summary of what is so wrong with this call:
- SHE cannot issue a bench warrant
- She changed her story as to what role I have in this “lawsuit”
- Process servers may call the person they are serving, but they generally just have a sealed envelope in hand therefore; won’t know the reason for what they are serving – at most, they will know the name of the party and a phone number
- She hung up after I asked too many questions
The local police cannot do anything about these calls. I’ve called to report each scam.
It is up to us to protect ourselves.
- NEVER give out your social security number
- NEVER give out an account number or bank information of any kind
- Do NOT verify your address or telephone number
- Take detailed notes of conversation
- Report to police in case these are people casing your home for times in which you will not be there
Another quick reminder about telephone scammers: The IRS will NEVER call you for collections unless you are already speaking to a representative to clear your account or you gave a representative a power-of-attorney to represent you. Do NOT give them your bank info, social security numbers, correct spelling of names. In fact! HANG UP ON THEM!
Please please please stay vigilent in protecting yourself and your data.
Please share your stories of dealing with scammers.
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