Receiving a telephone call from a debt collector is not a pleasant experience. Being hounded by someone attempting to collect a debt you do not owe is fraud. In 2018 I told you that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the New York Attorney General brought legal action against Hylan Asset Management and its owners Andrew Shaevel and Jon E. Purizhansky alleging that they attempted to collect on phantom, non-existent debts even after some of the people they contacted provided records proving they did not owe the money alleged. The case was settled in 2019. As a condition of the settlement, the defendants were permanently banned from the debt collection business and agreed to pay a fine which was used to refund money lost by victims of the scam. Payments first went out to the victims in October of 2021 and now a second round of checks is being sent to victims of the scam.
For more information about this refund program go to the tab in the middle of the Scamicide home page entitled “FTC Scam Refunds.” It is important to note that there is never a charge for obtaining a refund through the FTC or any of its refund administrators. Anyone who asks for such a payment is just another scammer.
Subject to strict federal laws, legitimate debt collectors are permitted to call debtors, however, the law prohibits them from attempting to collect a debt that the debt collector knows is bogus.
It can be difficult to know when someone calls attempting to collect a debt if indeed they are legitimate or not, so the best course of action if you receive such a call is to not discuss the debt with the person calling, but instead demand that they send you a written “validation notice” by regular mail which describes the debt they allege you owe and includes a listing of your rights under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Never give personal information over the phone to anyone who calls you attempting to collect a debt. You can never be sure who they are. If you receive the validation notice and it appears to be legitimate, you may be better off contacting your creditor directly because the person who called you may not be representing the creditor, but may merely have information about the debt.
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