The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) successfully sued three debt collection companies who scammed consumers into paying money they did not really owe. A total of $1.6 million was recovered from the debt collection scammers and will be distributed to 24,916 consumers.
In 2003, the FTC sued three companies, operating under the name National Check Control, charging them with harassing and abusing consumers, falsely threatening criminal prosecution, illegally communicating with third parties, collecting amounts that were not due, and other violations of federal laws. In 2005, the court ordered a permanent halt to their operations and ordered them to pay redress to the consumers they had bilked. The defendants, including Check Investors Inc., CheckEnforcement Inc., Jaredco Inc., the companies' owner, Barry Sussman, and their corporate counsel, Charles Hutchins, unsuccessfully appealed the case to the 3d Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
It's unfortunate that thousands of consumers are losing money to debt collection scams. Many debtors owe a lot of money to numerous creditors and this fact alone can cause confusion. It is this confusion that debt collection scammers use to rob debtors of their cash. Below are a few tips on how you can avoid paying money you don't owe:
- Take the time to make a list of all of your debts and the companies who hold the debt.
- Once you have made your list, make sure you find out what the current balance of you debt is for each bill.
- If you are contacted by a debt collector confirm their identity and verify that they have the right to collect on your debt.
- If you are unable to pay on your debts at this time, you may want to consider bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy will help you eliminate your debts, clear the confusion, reduce stress and help you get a fresh financial start.