Using MySpace Photo Of Debtor's Daughter As An Intimidation Tactic Is A No-No

from the in-case-you-were-wondering dept

Collections agencies are pretty notorious for pulling out all sorts of tricks to get people to pay up, including finding out info about family members. However, apparently one collections agency went too far in two specific ways: first, by spoofing the caller-ID to pretend to be a phone call from the woman’s mother in law, but perhaps more seriously is getting a photo on MySpace of the woman’s daughter and using it to suggest that something bad might happen to her:


The first bad decision was to use a caller-ID spoofer to make it look like the collection call was coming from plaintiff’s mother in law. The next not-smart use of technology was to access plaintiff’s MySpace page, learn that plaintiff had a daughter, and to use that fact to intimidate plaintiff. There was evidence in the record to suggest that the collection agency’s “investigator” said to plaintiff, after mentioning plaintiff’s “beautiful daughter,” something to the effect of “wouldn’t it be terrible if something happened to your kids while the sheriff’s department was taking you away?”

The woman sued the collections agency and won, as the court found that the agency “engaged in conduct the natural consequence of which was to harass, oppress, or abuse in connection with the collection of the debt; used false, deceptive, or misleading representations or means in connection with the collection of the debt; and used unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect the debt.”

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Comments on “Using MySpace Photo Of Debtor's Daughter As An Intimidation Tactic Is A No-No”

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20 Comments
Anonymoussays:

TERRORIST!!!

“That’s terrorism!! That’s a terrorist remark!! It’s intended to terrorize the woman, and therefore it must be terrorism! The company, it’s owner, that employee, and everyone associated with that company should be brought up on Federal terrorist charges and sent to a hardcore, manual labor, pound-me-in-the-*** prison for twenty years!!! Where’s the president and his socialist agenda to prosecute??”

… Isn’t that the way it’s going nowadays? Might as well use the ‘terrorism’ card on everyone…

abc gumsays:

Re: TERRORIST!!!

Although your comment was surely intended to be humorous, I doubt it would be as funny for you had it been your daughter this person was threatening.

The offense sounds like it should be criminal menacing. Hopefully the DA or whomever will see fit to prosecute.

In addition, I doubt this small monitary judgement will do anything to curtail such activities.

Anonymoussays:

thats 1000 per violation, a violation is defined on a per incident basis. Make a threat, thats a violation, spoof caller ID, thats a violation.

Hopfully you see the point here, a single call can quickly rack up into 5 or 6 digits. Once you lawyer up is vary common for a debt collector to settle (and you can even make them wipe the debt off your record).

The best way to pull this off is live in a 1 party state for phone taps so you don’t need to tell them its being recorded.

Or, a more evil way is to say, “This is being recorded?” right at the start of the conversation. That generally catches them off guard.

Re: Re:

You automatically assume everyone who gets a call from a debt collector is a lowlife. That’s not true.

I got a call from a collector claiming I owed Verizon money. I had payed them two months before I got the call. They admitted to me paying the bill in full before the collection agency got the info from Verizon. They still wanted to muscle the collection fee out of me. I let them know I payed Verizon in full, Verizon still put the paperwork threw, so if they wanted money they will have to call Verizon for it. They never called me back.

I’m not the only one I know who got hit with calls from collectors looking for money that no one agreed to pay in the first place.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

Nope. I pay my bills flawlessly, but a collection agency called West Asset Management has been calling my house for fully 10 years, for a debt someone I never met apparently owes. That person has a different middle initial from the name my phone is in. Notes have been made to the credit reporting bureaus after the collection asshats somehow got their bullshit attached despite the middle initial. Documentation has been provided them that this is not the number for the person they want, alleged managers have agreed to note that and stop the calls, but they are lying. Google that company and you will see that they have garnered an exceptional level of hatred even for the internets. Eventually we stopped answering calls from their robo-dialer and the 3-4 other spoofed caller IDs that I have come to recognize as them. A few times they even called me at work (the home phone is not in my personal name, not positive how they made the connection, I don’t social network at all) At some point it becomes simpler to ignore them than to keep fighting with them, but don’t tell me paying my damn bills has any bearing at all on whether you get targeted by collectors.

Anonymoussays:

Re:

Well it depends on what kind of business you have.
If you have a business that isn’t dependent on your reputation in the local community and it doesn’t get a substantial boost from local word of mouth, then it might be fine.
I own a small business and we do use a collection agency, but I would fire the agency in question here in a heart-beat because I know my income is completely dependent on my local reputation in my community. I don’t want my neighbors bad-mouthing my company because of the reprehensible actions of a company I hired to represent my interests.
One other thought about this. With internet search engines, even for companies that aren’t essentially local in character, reputation is now more important than ever.

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