Yesterday evening I received a phone call from Kevin of some collection company on behalf of The Law Offices of Sonic Trust (a payday loan company). Kevin, which I doubt is his real name has a think Indian accent.
Lets begin with the start of the conversation. First, Kevin has no last name, Secondly, lets all admit, most of us that have has the pleasure of receiving phone calls from these people have inquired about a payday loan at some point. Next, my feeling is that they hacked a list from a company or this so called "Sonic Trust" is operating internationally and not afraid of US law.
The conversation with Kevin was a bit nerving as he has my previous home address, previous banking info as well as my current employer. Kevin informed me that there is an affidavit pending against me and that I would be arrested, prosecuted for check and wire fraud. Obviously, I am not a criminal and if in fact I did accept a payday loan from a company and did not pay back; this is not wire fraud, but simply non payment of a credit account. Here is the US, you do not get arrested for not paying a debt (unless IRS of course). The penalty is usually a negative credit rating or civilly sued for the amount owed plus interest and lawyers fees. And before that even takes place the company has to make successful attempts and show proof that they have given you the opportunity to pay the debt or tried to reach you through other means.
Well as the master negotiator I am ;) I decided to question Kevin right back and play his game. I informed Kevin that I was interested in settling this debt out of court. Kevin then put me on hold to see if his client (Sonic Trust) would speak to me. To my surprise, they wouldn't (that's because there is no such thing); but they did inform Kevin that if I would pay the $783.00 that I supposedly owe via credit card accompanied by an apology letter, they would release all criminal charges against me and I would avoid the additional $5000 in civil penalties. Kevin dictated word for word what the letter should state. I believe the reason they do this is so that you "the cardholder" when trying to dispute the charge would not have any legal recourse because you signed and agreed to a charge on the letter you faxed to them (smart on their part).
This is what the letter was to say:
"To The Law Office of Sonic Trust: I am (name here) wish to resolve this case out of court by paying the sum of $783.00 that I owe to Sonic Trust using my credit card (include account #, name on card, expiration date, CVV#, and DOB). I require the expiry of the contract, a copy of the affidavit and the receipt from your end directly to my mailing address and please do not press any charges against me"
Lets take a quick look at the letter. First, it really makes no sense. Secondly, if they were in fact working on behalf of a law firm; wouldn't it make sense to have some sort of account number or file number reference??? Instead they make you write things like "this case"" . Sooo clever. Next, as a law office, wouldn't there be a mailing address, direct telephone number??? I mean c'mon if you are going to scam someone, at least have all your bases covered.
OK, I continued to humor Kevin and agreed to all his terms, but now I had a few terms myself. So I asked Kevin, I will pay this debt right now on my credit card if you can supply the following info via fax or email right now.
1) My account # with your agency
2) A copy of the invoice demanding payment
3) Copies of all letter and correspondence sent to me over the last few months that informed me of this debt.
4) The direct # and mailing address to the Law Office of Sonic Trust so I can follow-up on my case.
Well, Kevin said he is not at liberty to supply my demands. Therefore, I told Kevin I was not at liberty to fall into his scam. Kevin said the authorities would be picking me up this morning to prosecute me; surprisingly, I am still here.
I apologize for the long message, but I want the world to know what you may be hearing should you receive a phone call from this company.
DO NOT PAY THEM!!! Demand information proving the debt. Let them know you are recording the conversation and informing federal authorities. Question them back; you know you are not a criminal, therefore, do not fall for their scare tactics. I am sure this is a quick scam they are trying to pull as most of the complaints were within the last week. This company seems to have banking information; luckily they have my old closed bank account, I would recommend that if you receive a phone call from this company, to change your account number or alert your bank to put a freeze from anyone putting through an EFT (electronic funds transfer). I know this is inconvenient, but protect yourself from internet predators like this.
Good luck to all!
New York, New York