Collection Agency Scams are, unfortunately, all to common. Believe it or not, a collection agency known as the Lenahan Law Office (as well as several other names) tried to pull a fast one on the publisher of this site recently, so this particular issue is close to my heart.
One popular scam perpetrated by the Lenahan Law Office is calling neighbors or relatives, claiming to need a statement from the debtor for a urgent civil matter. Do not fall for it. This is a classic violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which specifically states that a debt collector may not use “any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt,” or threaten “to take any action that cannot legally be taken or that is not intended to be taken.” Moreover, the people who call you are not lawyers, and it is illegal to pose as a lawyer under the FDCPA.
If you allege a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the caller may threaten his own countersuit, alleging defamation. Do not believe him or her. He can make no such claim. You are wise simply to inform the caller that they are in violation of the FDCPA, hang up, and then call your local attorneys general office or consumer protection agency.
For more information about this specific collection agency scam and its variations, the aliases that the Lenahan Law Office uses (including Harry Cohn) please check out the very helpful Lenahan Law Office Exposed.
Also, please be aware that collection agencies will likely not sue you, and may in fact have no proof of your debt. If they call with false or misleading information, they are in much more trouble than you. If you need a good consumer protection lawyer, please go to: www.naca.net .