An investigative reporter for CBS affiliate KMOV in St. Louis set up a meeting to confront a debt collector that had been sending collection letters purporting to be from law enforcement offices. The meeting went about as well as could be expected.
Consumers in the St. Louis area had been receiving letters demanding payments for debts they did not incur or for checks they did not write. Many of the debts involved were supposedly payday loans.
But one particular consumer noted that the collector showed up at her home one day demanding immediate payment. When she contacted the local TV station, an investigative reporter worked with her to set up a meeting with the scammer.
Before the confrontation, a debt collection rights expert noted that even if the business was legitimate, there were numerous FDCPA violations in the letter language alone. After further investigation, the reporter could not find any evidence of the company at all, a tell-tale sign of a scam operation.
The meeting was relatively short, as one would imagine when a scammer is confronted with a microphone and TV camera. Watch it below:
The ARM industry for years has attempted to highlight the differences between legitimate debt collection agencies and scammers operating in the space. Many issues consumers had with scam attempts were lumped in with professional debt collection efforts in the minds of the media, consumer advocates, regulators, and lawmakers.
But there has been a growing trend of organizations noting the difference between real collectors and fake ones. And with the focus of the CFPB on supervising and examining the operations of larger collection agencies, the line should grow even bolder in coming years.