Posts Tagged: ‘abusive debt collection practices’

How do you know if it’s the IRS Contacting You?

August 11, 2017 Posted by kingcade

When the IRS contacts you, their first form of communication is through the U.S. Postal Service.  The IRS will NEVER initiate contact though email, social media or text messages.

Here are some additional ways the IRS will contact tax payers. It is important to be aware of these so you do not fall victim to an IRS-related scam.

  • An IRS agent or tax compliance officer may call you after mailing a notice to confirm an appointment or discuss an item for a scheduled audit;
  • Private debt collectors can call taxpayers for the collection of certain outstanding inactive tax liabilities- but only after the taxpayer and their representative has received written notice;
  • Private debt collectors for the IRS must respect taxpayers’ rights and abide by the consumer protection provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

All payments should be made to the U.S. Treasury.  Taxpayers should never use a prepaid debit card or wire transfer to make a payment.  Specific guidelines to make tax payments can be found at irs.gov/payments.

IRS employees will NEVER:

  • Be hostile or insulting;
  • Demand payment without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount;
  • Require a specific payment method (i.e. – a prepaid debit card);
  • Threaten lawsuits, arrest or deportation for not paying;
  • Request credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

A special page on IRS.gov, “How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door,” helps taxpayers determine if a person claiming to be from the IRS is legitimate or a scammer.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in a financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

http://www.examiner-enterprise.com/business/20170806/how-do-you-know-when-irs-is-contacting-you

 

FTC Shuts Down Debt Collector for Allegedly Threatening Lawsuits, Arrests against Consumers Who Don’t Owe Anything

July 18, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is cracking down on “Phantom” debt collection schemes that go after individuals for money they do not actually owe.  The FTC shut down an operation that collected more than $690,000 in fake debts by threatening consumers with lawsuits and arrests, a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

A court order has stopped the business operations of Hardco Holding Group and S&H Financial Group.  The debt collection operation is accused of using deceptive and abusive practices to collect fake debts.  Since June 2015, the companies and their operators Daryl M. Hall and Dequan M. Sicard illegally collected supposed payday loan and other debts from consumers using the threat of legal action and arrest.

Often, doing business as Alliance Law Group, the companies employed a two-step collection process. The complaint alleges the first step involved calling victims claiming that a lawsuit had been or would soon be filed against them due to an outstanding debt they owe.  The victim of the scam would then be provided with a phony case number for reference.

The FTC claims that during most of these calls, the operators of the scheme did not identify themselves as debt collectors. To make the collections seem legitimate, the FTC notes that the collectors would often possess or claim to possess individuals’ personal information, or claim to be from an unrelated, legitimate small business.

The reps advised callers that they could settle the action by making a payment over the telephone using a credit or debit card.  If the victim refused to pay immediately, collectors would threaten legal action and arrest.  The FTC charged Hardco and S&H Financial with violating the FTC Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and seeks to refund individuals affected by the fake debt collection scheme.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Lawmakers Fight to Close Robocall Debt Collection Loophole

March 9, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Federal lawmakers are attempting to close a recently opened loophole that allows the federal government to automate unwanted, even incorrect debt collection calls to consumers.  This all started in late 2015, when an addition to a budget bill amended the existing telecommunications law allowing robocalls “made solely to collect a debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States.”

Sen. Ed Markey (MA) is attempting to put an end to this with the HANGUP Act of 2017, which would close the debt-collection loophole opened by the 2015 budget bill.

The proposed legislation goes a step further,“walking back” the FCC’s July 2016 “Broadnet” decision, in which the Commission ruled that anyone in the federal government, including contractors, could send out robocalls, so long as the automated calls explicitly involve government business.

Senator Markey argues that the intention of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which limits the use of robocalls, is clear: “consumers should not be subject to unwanted robocalls and robotexts on their phones. But recent carveouts by Congress and the FCC allow government contractors to robocall and robotext consumers without their affirmative express consent…No one wants to be interrupted during family mealtime or when helping children with homework.”

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Debt Collection Dispute Headed to the Supreme Court

January 18, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether firms collecting on a debt they bought for pennies on the dollar can be held liable in lawsuits brought by consumers.  The justices agreed to review a lower court’s decision to dismiss a consumer class action lawsuit against Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. over allegations it violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act– a debt collection law enacted in 1977 that prohibits collectors from using abusive, unfair or deceptive practices to collect a debt.

The current case hinges on the definition of “creditor” and “debt collector” and whether a company that purchases debt should be treated as a creditor and therefore not subject to the law.

The case (Ricky Henson et al v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc et al, in the Supreme Court of the United States, No. 16-349) involves four Maryland residents who defaulted on their auto loans, and filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Santander in 2012 in federal court alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, such as misrepresenting the debt amount and bypassing debtors’ attorneys.

The debts had been sold to Santander, a Dallas-based vehicle-financing and lending company owned in part by a subsidiary of Banco Santander.  Santander then tried to collect on the loans.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia threw out the lawsuit last March, saying the law applied only to debt collectors, and Santander became a creditor when it purchased the loans.

The Maryland residents told the Supreme Court the 4th Circuit’s reasoning would “hamper both government and private efforts to combat abusive debt-collection practices.” The appeal to the Supreme Court comes as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is considering proposals to toughen regulation of the industry.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

More Consumers Report Debt Collectors are Denying Requests for them to STOP Calling

January 16, 2017 Posted by kingcade

A shocking three out of four consumers reported that debt collectors ignored their requests to stop calling, according to a recent survey by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  The survey also revealed that consumers felt threatened by debt collectors, were contacted late at night and early in the morning and the debt collectors oftentimes used false information- all violations of The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The survey examined a sample of consumers drawn from credit-reporting records about their experiences with debt collectors. More than 1 in 4 consumers contacted by a creditor or debt collector felt threatened, 3 out of 4 consumers who asked collectors to stop contacting them said they refused to do so. More than a third said debt collectors called between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m., according to the survey.

In addition, more than half reported a mistake in the debt, such as an incorrect amount, a debt not owed or a debt owed by a family member.  The frequency of calls was also excessive- 17% said they received eight or more calls in a single week.

Consumers are protected from these predatory and unfair practices by The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act– but only if they exercise their rights.  The law’s consumer protections include:

Communication: Consumers can tell debt collectors how and when to contact them- including telling them to stop contacting them entirely.

Harassment and abuse: Debt collectors cannot use abusive language, threaten violence or repeatedly call and harass them.

Truthfulness: Debt collectors must be honest about the amount of the debt, whether it is past the statute of limitations for lawsuits and cannot misrepresent themselves.

Debt validation: Consumers must receive a validation letter within five days of the first contact with information about the amount owed, the original creditor seeking payment and their rights on disputing the debt.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-cfpb-debt-collectors-20170115-story.html