The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced yesterday that it has charged a Georgia-based debt collection business with tricking people into paying money for debts they did not owe.
According to the complaint, the business is “founded on false claims that consumers have committed a crime and face dire consequences – including a lawsuit, garnishment, and even imprisonment – if a purported debt is not paid.”
The FTC says that since January 2015, the defendants have used these tactics to collect more than $3.4 million from consumer victims. They have also made false or unsubstantiated claims that people owe money, illegally contacted consumers’ friends, non-spouse relatives, and employers, and failed to provide statutorily-required written notices and disclaimers.
The defendants are Lamar Snow, Jahaan McDuffie and Glentis “Glen” Wallace; Advanced Mediation Group LLC; North Center Collections Inc.; Capital Security Investments LLC; Diverse Financial Enterprises Inc.; American Credit Adjusters LLC; Apex National Services LLC; and Global Processing Solutions LLC and Intrinsic Solutions LLC, formerly known as Global Processing Solutions Inc. and Intrinsic Solutions Inc. They are charged with violating the FTC Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The Commission's announcement notes that it files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The case will be decided by the court.
insideARM applauds actions taken against those whose practices are clearly designed to deceive consumers. If it proves to be true that these defendants regularly claimed consumers had committed a crime and levied threats of imprisonment, they should be shut down and fined.
One of the biggest issues facing debt collectors is the fact that consumers are not educated to recognize the difference between a fraudster and a legitimate collector. The Consumer Relations Consortium (CRC), a progressive group of larger market participants and creditors, has partnered with Consumer Action, a consumer advocacy and education non-profit, to illustrate the difference.
Editor's note: The CRC is managed by the iA Institute, parent of insideARM.