Be on the lookout for fake debt collection lawsuits. This scam has been used by debt collectors such as Portfolio Recovery Associates LLC.
The simulated Summons & Complaint tricks the recipient into thinking they have been sued. In reality, no lawsuit has been filed in court. The consumer is not obligated to respond, and could even be able to sue for debt collection harassment.
A series of fake debt collection lawsuits was reviewed by the court in the matter of Jason Zimmerman v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 276 F.R.D. 174, Case No. 09 Cv 4602.
The illegal debt collection documents, referred to by the Court as Portfolio Recovery Associates’ “Pre-Suit Package”, included a cover letter from the collection agency’s in-house counsel. This letter provided a basic explanation of the debt status. Also included in the Pre-Suit Package was a draft lawsuit, characterized by the Court as “documents simulating official court papers.”
Use of the imitation lawsuit was a deceptive debt collection technique that violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
If you have been sued for an unpaid debt, send us your lawsuit documents for a free authenticity review by our debtor defense lawyer.
New York debt collection lawyers are required to file their debt collection lawsuits with the Court before serving the lawsuit on the consumer.
At the time of filing the lawsuit, the Court Clerk’s Office will assign a court Index Number to the case. Our law firm can search the Kings County / Brooklyn and Queens County Civil Court website to determine whether a lawsuit Index Number has in fact been issued.
Portfolio Recovery Associates lawsuits are filed by collection agency lawyers Forster & Garbus, Selip & Stylianou and Malen & Associates. To learn more about Portfolio Recovery Associates (“PRA”), click here to visit our Debt Collector List entry.
Our debt defense attorney can review your Summons to see if it is stamped as “filed” with the Civil Court clerk’s office. The Summons is also required to state the date the Plaintiff purchased the Index Number in court (this occurs on the same date the lawsuit is “filed”).
Approximately 1,000 debtors identified in Zimmerman v. Portfolio Recovery Associates LLP received the deceptive mock-lawsuit. The Court found this class of victims entitled to damages of $350,000. Only debtors included in the 1 year statute of limitations were eligible to share in the recovery.
Call our consumer rights lawyer to stop fake debt collection lawsuits today.