LONG RUNNING AND KNOWN SCAM - ALL OVER INTERNET AND NEWS
Fake Debt Collectors – Terrorizing Consumers
MORE ON FAKE DEBT COLLECTORS
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2010/01/ks_debt_collection.html latest release of information on this scam
Attorney General Darrell McGraw took the extraordinary step today of warning the public about a band of scam artists making threats to consumers who allegedly obtained Internet payday loans in West Virginia and across the nation. The consumers they threaten never obtained a loan at all or paid it off years ago.
Internet payday loans are short-term loans or cash advances, usually for 14 days, made over the Internet via interactive web sites and secured by an agreement authorizing debits of the loan and all fees owed from the consumer’s checking account. These loans typically charge interest rates ranging from 600-800 APR and are unlawful in West Virginia.
The scam artists, who speak English with a foreign accent, call themselves “U.S. National Bank, ” “Federal Investigation Bureau, ” “United Legal Processing” and numerous other phony names. They refuse to disclose real names and addresses and are believed to be operating “off the grid” from homes, automobiles, or from off shore locations or foreign countries, including India. Since the scammers have kept themselves purposely well hidden, thus far no law enforcement agencies have succeeded in locating or shutting them down.
The scammers typically pose as law enforcement officers, investigators, lawyers, and bankers and threaten consumers that they will be arrested for “bank fraud” or other fictitious crimes unless money is wired immediately. They simultaneously scare and confuse consumers by using meaningless legalese gobbledygook phrases such as, “We are downloading warrants against you” or “We are filing an affidavit against you.” Consumers who don’t immediately fall for the scam are warned, “Only God can help you now.”
The scammers almost always call consumers at work several times a day, and tell their supervisors, “Your employee has committed fraud and is about to be arrested.” Such threats have proven unsettling even to the most savvy consumers and employers who suspect the calls are fraudulent.
Attorney General McGraw stated, “Ordinarily my office protects consumers from fraudulent activities by seeking injunctions in court. But legal action cannot be taken until the scam artists can be located. Even then, it is unlikely that the persons behind the fraudulent calls and extortionist threats would obey a court order. In this case, the consumer’s best defense is to be armed with the knowledge of the scam so that all demands for money can be resisted, despite the false but scarey threats of arrest.”
McGraw added, “Because the fraudsters make a special point of calling consumers repeatedly at work, employers must understand that the consumers are innocent victims of a criminal enterprise and cannot stop the calls from coming. I also wish to assure the citizens of West Virginia that my office will continue to do everything possible to locate and shut down the outlaw debt collectors.”
More information about this fraudulent debt collection scheme is available at the Attorney General’s website, www.wvago.gov/internetloanscam. Any consumers who have been threatened by these persons or wish to file a complaint about another consumer matter may do so by calling the Consumer Protection Hot Line, 1-800-368-8808, or by obtaining a complaint form from the Attorney General’s web site.
It's a debt collection scam. And all their threats are false and illegal.
This is a very active group of scammers, many of whom are calling from India (and probably other countries) and are in cahoots with a group of American pay day loan scammers. They attempt to extort money from consumers with a myriad of false and illegal threats, and alternately pose as debt collectors, federal and state law enforcement officers, lawyers and bankers. Their trademark is to use meaningless legalese gobblygook phrases like "We are downloading warrants against you" or "We are filing an affidavit against you." Another trademark phrase is to threaten the consumer with something like this ridiculous phrase: "If you don't pay then only God can help you."
Typical of many financial scams of this variety, they usually demand payment via Western Union or MoneyGram or credit card. They use any number of phony names such as US National Bank, Federal Investigation Bureau, US Legal Investigation Bureau, Hopkins Law Office, United Legal Processing, Morgan Associates, United Pay Services, National Processing, White Collar Crime Unit and many more. These criminals also use many phone numbers from many area codes; they're probably using caller-id spoofing software and/or VoIP to disguise their real location.
The main thing to remember is that anytime someone calls you demanding money to prevent your arrest, or demanding your lawyer's name so they can sue you, it is ALWAYS a scam. No debt collector (let alone criminals posing as debt collectors) has the authority to have anyone arrested for anything. (And it's illegal to them to threaten such a thing.) And since these foreign dirtbags routinely impersonate law enforcement, it's also important to remember that American law enforcement officers aren't in the business of debt collection. (Debt is a civil, not a criminal, matter.)
The bottom line is, these are criminals trying to steal your money.
A consumer posting a complaint about these same scammers at http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-718-831-7157 notes that 718-831-7157 is associated with an India-based "outsourcing" telephone bank. Though a reverse search on WhitePages.com shows that 718-831-7157 is an unlisted land line in New York City, information on Debtbuyers.Com shows that that number is used by India-based Intellisourze. (Source: http://www.debtbuyers.com/debtbuyers.asp ) My guess is that it's a VoIP phone number.
This is another piece of the puzzle that fits in perfectly with other information about this scam. There are some reports on 800Notes that have suggested that the crooks behind this offshore scam are also the crooks behind the notorious Bass/Ellis Crosby & Assoc./States Predisposition scams in Florida and Georgia. The interesting thing is that the number of complaints on here about the US National Bank/US Legal Investigation/Federal Investigation scam skyrocketed *after* April 7, 2008 when Florida obtained a $1.3 million judgment against Ted Ellis Crosby, shutdown his operations and barred him from ever conducting debt collections in Florida (Read http://myfloridalegal.com/newsrel.nsf/newsrel ... 5257424005858A6 ) There's certainly a good chance that the crooks placing these calls from India are doing so on behalf of the American crooks behind the Crosby/Bass/States Predisposition scams.
Here's the contact information for the phone bank in India:
701, Sapphier, Nr. Cargo Motors,
C.G. Road Navrangpura,
Ahmedabad - 9. (Guj.) INDIA.
A check on the domain name "intellisourze.com" shows that the website and name registration was created on May 8, just one month *after* the Crosby scams were shut down in Florida:
Domain Name: INTELLISOURZE.COM
Registrant: Pragra Infratech Pvt. Limited.
908, Aksaht Tower, Nr. ICICI Bank
Opp. Rajpath Club, S.G. Highway
Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India 380054
Creation Date: 08-May-2008
Expiration Date: 08-May-2009
Domain servers in listed order: ns5.znetindia.com ns4.znetindia.com
(Source: http://whois.domaintools.com/intellisourze.com )
Though scam calls from these crooks have been going on long before May 8, the frequency of complaints about these calls increased considerably after Crosby was shut down in early April.
This is conjecture, but appearances suggest that Crosby and company were originally running a two-pronged payday loan scam operation -- with some calls being made from Jacksonville, Florida and other calls being made from a phone bank in India (and possibly other countries); then, after the Florida Attorney General shut down the Crosby scams in Florida, the Crosby crooks transferred most of their scam efforts to the India phone bank.
If you are targeted by these criminals, be sure to report them to all the following federal and state law enforcement agencies (most of which you can do online or over the phone):
1. The U.S. Secret Service is responsible for protecting the country's financial infrastructure and payment systems from international and domestic threats. Call or write your local Secret Service field office to alert them to the details of this attempted extortion. The addresses and phone numbers for the local Secret Service field offices are listed at http://www.secretservice.gov/field_offices.shtml or in your phone book.
2. Alert the FBI at https://tips.fbi.gov Be sure to tell the FBI that you are being targeted by extortionists over the phone. And if the crooks claim to be law enforcement or lawyers, officers of the court or bankers, be sure to include that information in your report.
3. File a complaint with your local police. Most police departments will take a report over the phone. Be sure to tell them that you're being targeted by an extortionist and give them all the details.
4. File a complaint your state's attorney general, the contact information for whom is at www.wvago.gov
5. File a complaint online with The Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/FTC_Wizard.aspx?Lang=en
If these crooks call back, promise them nothing, pay them nothing and tell them nothing other than that you know they're a scam and that you've reported them to law enforcement. (And be sure to report them to all the agencies above each time they call you.)
By the way, here's just a small sample of numbers used by this particular group of scammers. Read the reports and you'll see the same pattern time and again -- phony organization names, thick foreign accents, and oddly worded threats that are so melodramatic and ridiculous that it's laughable:
Scam alert: Bogus debt collectors
By Leslie McFadden • Bankrate.com
Monday, Aug. 3
Posted 2 p.m.
Bankrate reporter Leslie McFadden contributed this entry.
This scam isn't technically about credit cards, but it is scary enough to post a warning. The Better Business Bureau issued an alert today saying consumers across the country are getting phone calls from bogus debt collectors claiming default on a payday loan. Of course, the consumer needs to pay a large fee to avoid arrest -- as much as $1, 000.
The caller poses as a lawyer, and may threaten extradition to face trial if the consumer doesn't pay up immediately.
What makes these calls alarming -- and perhaps convincing -- is that the perpetrators reference the consumer's personal information, such as the person's Social Security number, driver's license number, previous bank account numbers, home address -- even personal references.
"The amount of information they have is really troubling, " says BBB spokeswoman Alison Southwick. She adds that the amount of data points to a possible security breach.
Spread the word to your friends and family: Don't give out personal or financial information to an unknown caller. Scammers can spoof Caller ID to display different numbers, so trust your instincts over technology.
The BBB offers these tips:
• Ask the debt collector to provide official documentation which substantiates the debt.
• Do not provide or confirm any bank account, credit card or other personal information over the phone until you have confirmed the legitimacy of the call.
• File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online if the caller is abusive, uses threats or otherwise violates federal telemarketing laws or the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
• File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau online if you believe a debt collector is trying to scam you.