Debt Collection Scam
February 29, 2012
Warning for Scammers Posing As:
- Insight Capital
- TTG Services
- M. Callahan & Associates, LLC
Consumers have reported that they have been contacted by individuals claiming to represent Insight Capital/TTG Services/M. Callahan & Associates, LLC using the representative name of "Brad Owens." The representative has called from telephone number 800-402-4043 and has been reported to threaten criminal charges for check fraud, and other behavior not compliant with federal and state collection agent laws.
Efforts to obtain the identity of the individuals by contacting the telecommunications service provider were not successful.
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has no other verifiable leads regarding the identity or location of the perpetrators of this debt collection scam.
Complainants have had some success contacting their local telephone carrier’s nuisance department to stop calls.
How to Report - If You're A Victim
If you feel you have been victimized by these individuals, and you reside in Washington State, you may file a complaint with the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions by contacting the Consumer Services Division at 360-902-8703, or by filing a complaint at www.dfi.wa.gov/cs/complaint.htm.
You may also file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. For more information, See Filing a complaint at the Attorney General’s website at www.atg.wa.gov, or call toll free 1-80-551-4636 for assistance. (TTY: 1-800-276-9883).
Collection Agencies Threatening You?
Washington State law prohibits intimidating, threatening, or harassing conduct in connection with the collection of a debt.
The Washington State Department of Licensing can take disciplinary action against a collection agency’s license if they violate the Washington State Collection Agency Act. If you feel your rights have been violated, call the Washington State Department of Licensing at 360-664-1421. File a complaint with the Department of Licensing at www.dol.wa.gov.
These kinds of contacts should also be reported to federal law enforcement authorities.
You may contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation online: www.fbi.gov or by telephone: (202) 324-3000.
We also suggest contacting the Federal Trade Commission online: www.ftc.gov or toll free: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). (TTY: 1-866-653-4261).
If the caller has indicated they may know private information, such as your Social Security number, other account numbers, or contact information for work or other associates, you should take steps to protect yourself against identity theft. There is information on the FTC website about steps to take to protect yourself from identity theft, and what to do to protect yourself in the event you are a victim of identity theft.
Debt Collection Laws
The Washington State Collection Agency Act, RCW 19.16: The Washington State Collection Agency Act took effect on January 1, 1972, and is enforced by the Department of Licensing and the Washington State Collection Agency Board. The law is intended to protect consumers and stop abusive practices by debt collectors.
The law does:
- Cover the collection of any business, personal, family, or household debt.
- Apply to any person or business who solicits or collects debts owed to another for collection.
- Apply to creditors who use a different name when collecting from their own debtors.
- Apply to anyone who regularly collects or tries to collect debts for another.
The law doesn’t:
- Apply to banks, other lenders, or businesses that collect their own accounts using their own names.
Include individuals making collections in their own name that are directly related to the operation of a business other than a collection agency, such as:
- Abstract companies doing an escrow business
- Real estate brokers
- Insurance companies
Collection agencies aren’t allowed to disclose your debt to a third party, except under the specific circumstances in RCW 19.16.250(9).
Collection agents aren’t allowed to misrepresent themselves:
- By using any name other than the one listed on their collection agency license.
- By using documents that appear to be judicial processes, government documents, telegrams, or emergency messages.
- By wearing a badge or law enforcement uniform.
- By implying they’re officially connected with any law enforcement or government agency.
When contacting you, collection agencies aren’t allowed to:
- Charge you for collect calls or telegram fees.
- Contact you or your spouse more than 3 times a week.
- Communicate with you at your workplace more than once a week.
- Communicate with you or your spouse at your home before 7:30 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you request they contact you during alternate hours.
- Use offensive language.
- Make threats of force, violence, or criminal prosecution such as jail time or taking of personal property (doesn’t include filing a court case to obtain a judgment).
- Threaten you with an impaired credit rating if you don’t pay the debt (doesn't include telling you the debt will be reported to a credit reporting agency, which may affect your credit rating).
- Communicate directly with you if they’ve been notified in writing by your attorney to contact the attorney about your debt.
Collection agents aren’t allowed to collect or try to collect:
- Any additional fee not authorized by law (doesn’t include attorney’s fees and taxable court costs awarded by a judge).
- On a written note, contract, or stipulation where you’re required to pay any amount other than the original debt, allowable interest, and applicable attorney’s fees and taxable court costs.