On Friday 5/22/09 "Andy Hunt" from American Credit Services called my place of employment. He told the secretary that the number I had supplied to him had been disconnected and asked her for my phone number. She obviously did not tell him and he asked her to have me return his call at 818-296-4015. She sent me a message immediately. I already knew something was wrong because only my close family numbers have my work number for emergencies only.
I called the number back and asked to speak to Andy. I was told I was talking to attorney "Joe Brown", and that Andy was his assistant. I asked what this was in regards to. He said he was from the Crime Monitoring Division of ACS and that this issue was time sensitive. "Joe Brown" had a very heavy accent and was hard to understand. There was lots of background noise as well. I requested to speak with someone else because I could not understand him very well and he said he was the only person I could discuss this with.
He first asked me for my lawyer's information. I told him I didn't have a lawyer. He had all of my personal information including my home address, email address and the last four numbers of my SSN. He told me that I had an outstanding debt with Fast Cash International for a payday loan in the amount of $300, and that they had tried to contact me several times over the phone and had also sent 17 emails. He gave me my previous bank name and an account number that the money had supposedly been deposited into.
Flags went off again as my accounts with that bank had been closed for almost a year and the account number didn't match. He said that because I did not pay it back I now owed almost $5000 in late fees and penalties and that he needed to read me an affidavit before he could continue with the conversation. I told him to continue and he informed me I was being charged with Violation of Federal Banking Laws, Check Fraud and Theft Deception in the court of California. If I did not comply with him the information would be faxed to my employer and I would be served papers on Tuesday morning (Monday morning being a holiday, Memorial Day) along with a letter that would terminate my employment.
"Joe" continued on saying that I would lose my job, my driver's license, all of my credit/debit cards and never be eligible for loans or mortgages in the future. He also said I would be going to prison if I didn't comply. He even said that two of my references would be sued because of this. He was extremely condescending and rude and would not let me talk. I immediately began panicking because I had never taken out a payday loan from this place. This was the first time I had ever even heard of them!
He continued on, saying I had the right to seek legal counsel and that the only way to avoid going to court would be if I paid an OOCR (Out of Court Restitution) of $986.00 immediately. I told him I could not pay that. He told me then that I should enjoy the Memorial Day weekend with my family because I would never see them again after Tuesday. He went on to say I would have to pay $1900 in court fees plus bail and any transportation costs because Tuesday morning he would be sending two of his investigators to pick me up from work.
I asked him if I could call him back in half an hour because I wanted to speak with an attorney. He said ok but that I better call him back as promised as our call was being recorded and if I did not return his call I would be in even more legal trouble.
I immediately spoke with some friends and family members and also researched this "ACS" company on the internet. I first searched the phone number and found out it was a land line phone. I also went to the bank and had them look through my account history and they found nothing. I found this site and immediately felt relieved that this was a scam- I had a feeling it was but with the information he had (I'm still trying to figure out how he got my work number!) and the personal information he had I was very concerned.
I contacted my aunt who is a lawyer and I also contacted her father as he works for the FBI. I called "Joe Brown" back and told him I could prove that I had never received the money. (I wanted to see what he'd say.) He said that he had all the proof he needed to take me to court and that he had never lost a case, that this one would be no different. He said shame on me for taking out a loan and not paying it back and that this was stealing.
I then told him I knew it was a scam and that while it was a nice try, I had contacted my attorney, the FBI and would also be calling the police. He quick said "See you in court!" and disconnected the call. When I tried to call the number back again it was busy.
DO NOT FALL FOR THIS! I called the police right away and they said several of these scams have been going on lately. I also reported them to the Department of Homeland Security and I will be filing a report with the Better Business Bureau. This is really scary.
Eastern Part, Pennsylvania