There are many scams in the world that people should watch out for and now I have first hand experience in dealing with the latest scam. As bankruptcy lawyer in Seattle, Washington I recently had debtors tell me all the time that they are being harassed by debt collectors, but this time the scenario sounded a little funny. I met with somebody who had filed for bankruptcy pro-se (on his own) back in August. This would invoke the bankruptcy automatic stay and forbid all future debt collectors from trying to collect on a debt. In this persons case they claimed that they were now being harassed by a debt collector in association with a payday loan that was discharged in their chapter 7 bankruptcy. The debt collector called himself Dennis Franklin of Franklin Delaware and Stevens. He used debt collection tactics that clearly violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and Federal bankruptcy law regarding the automatic stay. Some of these tactics including using profanity, making threats of jail time for not paying and telling the debtors that filing bankruptcy did not protect them. All of which were not true. Additionally the debt collector refused to provide documentation that they owned the debt and acted in a very unprofessional manner with no regard to the actual debt collection practices laws, including calling the debtors several times a day.
After visiting with this client, I decided to give Mr. Franklin a call as well as sent him e-mail regarding this situation. He responded that he had no knowledge of my client and then swiftly hung up on me. I then sent him an email in which he responded again (from his cell phone this time and Gmail account stating he had no knowledge of the client even though I provided the email he sent to my client earlier). This is clearly not how legitimate debt collectors operate and is an obvious scam. The moral of the story is don’t give these people any information without first verifying the company and whether they do in fact own your debt. If a debt collector is using extreme measures to get money out of you, quickly hang up the phone and contact the FBI or your local attorney generals office to put them in their place. Once I contacted this person they stopped collecting on the debt that they did not own as I threatened a lawsuit with stiff penalty’s.
If you have additional questions feel free to contact Symmes Law Group at 206-682-7975