Maybe these scammers should have looked me up before they tried to pull a fast one

Note to any debt-collection scammers reading this: Choose your targets carefully. Very carefully.

If you don’t, you might end up sending a bogus notice to a consumer advocate. And he might write something about it.

Rafael Everett apparently didn’t do his research when he sent me a series of “legal” notices by email. That’s allowed, according to the Federal Trade Commission

You have the wrong guy

But they looked suspicious. For starters, they had the wrong guy.

Dear: Elliott Long
2757 Birch Street, LAREDO, TX, 78040
SSN: [redacted]
DOB: 8/24/1980

Driver’s License#: [redacted]
Drivers State: TX
Reference#: CB51441
Plaintiff: Quick Payday

Account id: 00/100/3636

This letter is a prior notification to you regarding your account with Quick Payday before your file gets registered inside the courthouse with the legal procedures on your name.

This notice will certify that a petition has been entered against you. The above name entity individual respectfully requests that you immediately settle this account. This consideration includes the penalty fees, judge fees; courthouse fees, etc. It may put you in a legal mess.

Since you have not made the payment, we would be forced to commence lawsuit without further delay followed by all the legal interrogatories and consequences; this could further jeopardize your credit ratings, and your social will be hampered. The company holds the prima facie regarding your case.

The longer you go without paying your payday loan, the more you will owe the lender. Because money lender often charges hefty interest rates (up to 600% annually) and fees for nonpayment. Some states have rules related to how much interest a payday lender can charge, however, other states, such as Texas; allow payday lenders to charge unlimited interest and fees for nonpayment.

Besides, non-repayment of the loan will be reported to the three major credit bureaus causing severe damage to your credit score, jeopardizing your credibility in future. Defaulting on loan obligations may result in not being able, or being less able, to borrowing again in the future from other credit institutions, the collection action will stay on your credit report for seven years.

Also, to inform you that this loan was provided to you against your paychecks. My claimant that’s your Quick Payday has all the rights and is authorized to Email/Fax the official copy of the court subpoena to your human resources or the legal representative of your firm. Wherein, they have to appear in the court while the case is on which would be resulting in termination from the full-time employment and to make sure they take strict actions against you. Consequently, your salary/wages will be garnished.

This is the last warning before taking further actions on the judgment against you. Failure to this notice will require us to utilize one of the enforcement as mentioned above options against you. No further notice will be given before further enforcement actions on this judgment.

If you have any issues regarding this matter reply us back and we will contact you as soon as possible to help you to get out of this issue.

Sincerely,

Rafael Everett
Legislation Department
Esper Law Firm

My name isn’t Elliott Long. I wish I was born in 1980. That would make me 37! And I’ve never had a permanent residence in Texas.

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So I ignored it.

Debt-collection scammers don’t give up

But Rafael was persistent. A few days later, he followed up with this email:

This legal proceeding is issued on your Docket# with one of Quick Payday Company, concerning your account with Quick Payday Inc., which you took out from Quick Payday and failed to repay them back. It is to notify you that after making several calls on your phone number they were unable to get a hold of you. So now as on today’s date, accounts department of Quick Payday has decided to mark this case as a flat refusal and has authorized us to press charges against you in court.

Plaintiff Quick Payday addresses the defendant to pay the sum of one thousand two hundred fifty which the plaintiff claims to be in respect of together with interest due thereon from the said date of repayment in full at such rate as the court may deem just. The whole as appears by Deed of Assignment in the plaintiff’s favor and to pay the cost of the action.

Please note that commercial enterprises, banks, and other financial institutions, which in any manner, are involved in the lending of money or the granting of credit, have a legitimate interest in accessing the database. The preceding also applies to debt-collection agencies. Consequently, any of the information as mentioned earlier may be passed onto such parties and may, in the process, affect your credit rating.

We would like to draw your attention to the fact that if judgment and an order for repayment in full are obtained and remain unpaid, the following enforcement options are available and may be considered by our client.

1. Warrant of executions by bailiffs against goods owned.

2. Application for attachment of earnings orders with your present or future employer.

3. Request for a charging order on any property you may own or are purchasing under a mortgage. (Where the balance outstanding is of a sufficient level.)

In short, you will end by paying $ 8,483.67 either by selling any of your assets or properties, along with you the other references that you used while making the transaction will also have to face the consequences.

We would emphasize that should judgment be entered against you this may affect any future credit application you may make elsewhere. We would also draw attention that all legal costs incurred in this situation are usually payable by the debtor.

The balance includes an administration cost of $1,310.78 which has been added to offset (some of) the expenses incurred by our client.

As we put your SSN into the National Checking Database System, we found that you have never been charged for any fraud activity hence I have personally evaluated your file, and with my experience, there is nothing here to suggest that this was done with any ill intent or malice.

Therefore, the nature of this notice is to determine whether there is a willingness on your part to resolve the matter voluntarily or if this is a flat refusal and a breach of verbal or written contract.

Debt-collection scammers can be aggressive

I skimmed the notice and it looked legit enough to make me send what I thought was a helpful reply:

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Me: This is not me. You have the wrong person.

That was met with an even more aggressive response:

Rafael: Quick Payday is having 17 valid proof and three scientific proofs stating that you applied for it online and money was transferred to your bank account which has been verified by Bureau of cybercrime investigation.

Hmm, “is having.” Sounds like Rafael doesn’t have a basic command of English.

Me: Would you be so kind as to share the evidence with me? I’d like to review it. Thank you.

Rafael: The company has already sent nine reminders in your email address and attempted to send you the documents by US registered post at you mailing address, but nobody was there to either accept the documentations or to sign the papers. And at this point of time the case is under sub judicial act under chapter 63 C so it should not be through the US postal services, you haven’t received the documents, but the company has done its job.

Furthermore, after getting the funds, you were untraceable, due to your repeated negligence, we cannot do the same procedure once again, but surely, we can send you a legal notice through your attorney. Do you have your lawyer’s number or fax number; we can send them all papers along with court summons?

At this point, I just wanted to stop getting Rafael’s emails. So I thought I should be clear but firm.

I’m not that Elliott

Me: I’m truly sorry for your trouble in collecting this debt. The person you’re trying to reach appears to have used my email address. I do not know anyone named Elliott Long. The date of birth, address, and other information you have does not match mine. You have the wrong person.

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Rafael: Kindly send us your Photo ID to verify you.

Well, that set off all kinds of alarms. Asking for an ID to “verify” you can potentially give a scammer your actual coordinates, allowing them to target your further. Not gonna happen.

Then I looked up the Esper Law Firm and discovered that I hadn’t been the only one targeted by Rafael.

I knew Rafael had the wrong guy. But was he a debt-collection scammer?

Before I had an answer, he emailed again.

Rafael: Kindly let us have you clear intention in this case so that we can put a remark on it and start the legal actions in your name. If your Plaintiff gets a court order against you, your Plaintiff has many other options to make you pay.

Debt-collection scammers don’t take “no” for an answer

I didn’t respond. He was not deterred.

Rafael: There is a lawsuit on your name, and your name is in a defaulter list.

If you want me to put this case file on hold then I want your prompt attempt, we are not going to ask you every time for this, you can simply let me go ahead and start the legal actions on you and your references.

A lawsuit on my name? Come on

Finally, on Jan. 8, I received the following notice from Rafael:

Due to your less cooperation, we are unable to work with you any further.

By today’s end of the day I’ll submit my closure report on your habitual offense, and by Jan. 10th, we will do all the required actions.

A copy of all legal paper works along with an arrest warrant will be sent to your local sheriff’s office in coming hours.

Sometimes debt-collection scammers really pick the wrong guy

Do I really have to connect the dots on this one? Clearly, Rafael is not who he says he is. But I also have a little advice for the debt-collection scammers out there. At least, could you Google your targets before you send them threatening emails?

Because you just picked the wrong guy to scam.

Do we need tougher laws to protect us from debt-collection scams?

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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