Over the past few years here at my law office in Houston, I've received a lot of phone calls from people that have been harassed by debt collectors trying to collect on old or non-existent payday loans.

These "renegade" or "off the reservation" debt collectors as I call them, may threaten the person with jail, with criminal prosecution, or with lawsuits and property seizures, when they do not intend to take any of those actions.

It is just a scam. If you're not sure, just "Google" the phone number; you'll often find complaints from other people that have been called from that number, and nothing has ever happened to them.

At the FTC's request, recently the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta issued a restraining order and asset freeze against a business operation that allegedly used deceptive and threatening tactics to collect phantom payday loans that the consumers either didn't owe, or didn't owe to the defendants.

According to the FTC, the defendants used several business names to make it sound like they were a law firm or law enforcement agency, including Global Legal Service, Allied Litigation Group, United Judgment & Appeals, and the like.

They used robocalls and voice message to threaten legal action and arrest unless consumers responded by an arbitrary deadline. Almost 3,000 complaints have come in to the FTC about these companies' practices. Apparently the operation collected millions of dollars from frightened consumers.

So if you have received one of these calls, either from this operation or a similar operation, it is likely not for real. It is a scam designed to frighten you into paying them money.

But if you do have real debt problems, including defaulted payday loans, and you live in the Houston, Texas metropolitan area, call our office in Houston at 713-772-8037 and come in for a free first visit.

We will find out what your situation is, and explain your options in dealing with your debt problems. If you just want more information, request one of our free publications

J Thomas Black
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Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization
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