SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Scare tactics and a telephone is all some unscrupulous debt collectors need to intimidate consumers.
One KELOLAND man discovered right away that something wasn't right when he got a call threatening legal action against him.
Mark Odor of Rock Rapids got a call earlier this month telling him he was about to be served legal papers for an old debt. He immediately checked Iowa's Court System online and nothing showed up.
“In Iowa you can look up online, any sort of court record going back to the 70s or 80s. Traffic Tickets, lawsuits; anything shows up there,” Odor said.
Odor called the debt collector back with our camera rolling.
Odor says he does have an old debt for about $1,000 but this debt collector told him he'll pay more than $6,000.
"You guys are full of crap, you haven't filed anything," Odor said.
"We're going to go ahead and release the documents," the debt collector said.
"That's what you said last week," Odor said.
"They're going to render a 10 year judgment in the state of Iowa. They're going to garnish your wages 25 percent. They're going to get a property or vehicle lien as a bank lien. You owe $3,757 plus $2,500, so I wish you good luck," the debt collector said.
I called the company who's threatening to serve papers on Odor. I identified myself as a reporter in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and I asked if I could have the company name and where they are located. They refused to tell me anything and in fact, hung up on me.
The only name Odor was able to get from the company was West Coast Filing Services. We found a website for that company that was linked to 11 different names with identical websites and the same P.O. Box.
"I think they're a shell firm that operates multiple companies under different names in an attempt to deceive consumers on who they actually are," Odor said.
A legitimate collector has five days to provide you with the documentation to show you actually owe the bill. Odor says he's received nothing but threats over the phone.
"I think they try to just buy old debt and they try to scam people out of money quickly," Odor said.
According to the Federal Trade Commission
, debt collectors aren't allowed to use many of the tactics we heard in our single phone conversation they had with Odor.
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