I recently sued a debt collector who left a voicemail for my client saying they needed to verify his address so he could be served with a lawsuit.
This is the slightly edited transcript of that voicemail:
“This information is intended for [CLIENT]. Claim number 115-1193. This is Samantha Scheels contacting him regarding an order that was submitted to my office. I need to verify an address for service of process at your residence and place of employment. [CLIENT], you have a claim that is being filed against you. At this point you’re being granted an opportunity to contact the firm handling the case to resolve this matter voluntarily. That firm can be reached at [PHONE NUMBER]. Case number again 115-1193.”
If you get a call or voicemail like this, it is a probably a scam. “Service of process” just means a process server handing you a lawsuit. And process servers rarely call to let you know you will be served because people avoid them.* Calls like this are almost always an immoral debt collector trying to scare consumers into paying.
When a debt collector leaves a message like this, they violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”).
Debt collectors can’t:
- threaten to sue when they don’t intend to;
- pretend to be lawyers when they’re not;
- place calls without disclosing the debt collector’s name; or
- use a false or misleading representation.
If you receive a call like this, call a lawyer.
* Don’t avoid process servers. That’s call “ducking service” and it is pointless. After a few unsuccessful attempts to serve you, the opposing party can request “alternative service”. Alternative service usually means taping the lawsuit to your door which might then blow off or get destroyed by rain. Be an adult, take the lawsuit, and call a lawyer.