In September 2015, the Federal Trade Commission banned Kirit Patel and his company, Broadway Global Masters, from the debt collection business. Patel and his company illegally collected more than $5.2 million in fake payday loan debts. He also pleaded guilty to the Department of Justice on charges of criminal mail and wire fraud. Specifically, Patel’s company:
- Called people and pushed them to pay debts they didn’t really owed,
- Posed as law enforcement and fake government agencies like the “Federal Crime Unit of the Department of Justice”,
- Threatened to sue or arrest people—or tell their family and employers about a debt, and
- Recited people’s Social Security and bank account numbers to seem legit.
So how can you tell if you’re being targeted by a fake debt collector? A caller may be a fake debt collector if:
- You don’t recognize the debt,
- You can’t get a mailing address or phone number for the collector,
- You’re asked for personal financial or sensitive information, and
- You’re threatened with arrest or told you’ll be reported to a law enforcement agency.
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- Ask students to prepare a list of steps they should take if they receive a call from a debt collection agency.
- Encourage students to visit a local office of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service. What assistance is available if the debt is legitimate, but the debt collector is not?
- What can governmental agencies do to stop scammers from bilking honest and innocent people?
- Why is it important to obtain and review your free credit reports at least once a year?