India-to-U.S. Fake Debt Collection Scheme Took $5M: FTC

Consumer debtA U.S. district court has halted an operation that the FTC alleges collected payday loan “debts”  consumers did not owe in a scheme that took in more than $5 million since January 2010.

Consumers received millions of collection calls from India as part of the operation.

Often pretending to be law enforcement or other government authorities, the callers would falsely threaten to immediately arrest and jail consumers if they did not agree to make a payment on a delinquent payday loan, the FTC’s court papers stated.

Claiming to be law enforcement, such as a local police department, the “Federal Department of Crime and Prevention,” or simply a “federal investigator,” the callers typically demanded more than $300, and sometimes as much as $2,000.

Sometimes, the callers said they were filing a lawsuit against the consumer because of the delinquent payday loan or would have the consumer fired from his or her job, according to the FTC.

Many consumers turn to high-interest, short-term payday loans between paychecks.

The FTC charged Villa Park, California-based American Credit Crunchers, LLC, an affiliated company called Ebeeze, LLC, and the companies’ owner, Varang K. Thaker, with violating the FTC Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

According to the FTC’s complaint, Thaker obtained information – including Social Security or bank account numbers – about consumers who had inquired about, applied for, or obtained online payday loans.

Thaker worked with telephone callers in India who called consumers using deceptive statements and threats to convince them to pay debts that were not owed or that he was not authorized to collect, the FTC alleged.

Over the last two years, consumers have filed more than 4,000 complaints with the FTC and state attorneys general about fraudulent debt collection calls.

For more information on how to handle callers who claim to be debt collectors, see the FTC’s Who’s Calling? That Debt Collector Could Be a Fake.

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One Response to “India-to-U.S. Fake Debt Collection Scheme Took $5M: FTC”

  1. Sanjay from mumbai says:

    So many center r operating from overseas ,Like Ocwen financial( 90 % 0f employees r from india ),Jp Morgan chase ( they too operate from India ) r they too threat for identity , financial info , Do they sell our data too

    they hire any one overseas without checking back ground , its that big threat( terrorist may use the data ) , the above r the openings of only 2 companies for example , they r on hiring spree, avoiding our security

    they sell data for cents

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