WV Consumers Receiving Fake Collection Calls

November 28, 2012
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has been receiving numerous phone calls from consumers in West Virginia concerning American Document Services using a local PO Box in Charleston, WV. The company claims to be collecting on a loan repayment. Consumers are told by the caller if they do not pay within 24 -48 hours they will be arrested.

“Receiving these types of phone calls can be very frightening to consumers” says Frank Cilona, BBB CEO. “The caller will often have the consumer’s personal information including banking or personal identification, so consumers often think it’s a legitimate collection call”.

Consumers should understand that this company is not an actual collection agency but is attempting to fraud consumers out of the so called “loan payment” amount. Consumers informed the BBB that the representative attempting to collect the debt is using very strong and persistent scare tactics in order to collect payment.

A BBB investigation further revealed that the phone number used by the company with a 304 area code was “spoofed” using voice-over Internet Protocol technology to make the caller appear to be calling locally. The BBB was unable to locate any business by the name of American Document Services located in Charleston, WV or surrounding areas.

According to the Federal Fair Debt Collection Act, debt collectors may not do any of the following:

• Harass, oppress, or abuse, including using threats of physical violence, obscene language, or repeatedly calling you with the intention of annoying you;
• Lie, including telling you they are from the government, that someone will come and throw you in jail or "debtors prison", that they work for a credit reporting company, that the papers they sent you are legal forms if they are not, or are not legal forms if they are;
• Tell you they intend to sue you when they don't have that intention;
• Tell you they will seize your salary or property unless they have the legal authority to do so;
• Send you a document that looks like it is coming from a court or government agency;
• Provide you with a false company name, or otherwise claim to be someone they are not; or
• Try to collect interest or fees unless your contract or state law allows imposition of interest or fees.

If you believe you are being or have been harassed by a debt collector or receiving fake collection calls, you can file a complaint with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, at http://www.wvago.gov or with the Federal Trade Commission, at http://www.ftc.gov . If you are unsure if any offer or call you receive is legitimate, you can contact the BBB at 1-800-362-0494 or www.cantonbbb.org.