If you’ve gotten a threatening phone call from a debt collector in recent years, you may soon be getting a check in the mail.
The Federal Trade Commission is mailing out checks totaling close to $4 million dollars to nearly 100,000 consumers who fell prey to a Southern California debt collection operation that allegedly extorted payments from them using false threats.
The FTC says the consumers were targeted in recent years by a company called, “Asset Capital and Management Group,” which operated from locations in Orange and Riverside counties under various names.
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Investigators say the collectors used terrifying phone tactics, including threatening people with lawsuits, wage garnishment, even arrest, in order to extract immediate payments for outstanding credit card debt.
Federal law prevents debt collectors from using such bully tactics.
“A legitimate debt collector will not be threatening you with arrest. They will not be threatening you to lose your job,” said Christopher Koegel, Assistant Director of the FTC's Division of Financial Practices. “If a collector is right away pressing you to sensitive financial information, that’s another big red flag.”
The FTC says the four men who ran the operation bought the credit card debt from other creditors. Now, the men have had their personal assets seized, including luxury cars and the title to a $2 million dollar home. Those assets have been liquidated to compensate consumers who sent money to these crooks.
If you believe you’re due money, you can call the FTC’s refund administrator, Analytics Consulting LLC, at 1-855-312-3324.
You can also find out more information on this case here.
Find tips on how to spot a fake debt collector here.