NCO Claiming to be the Department of Education
In November, I received a call from a group that said they were "NCO Financial, associated with ". After verifying my date of birth (as I don't give out my SS# to anybody), I was told that they were contacting me for a student loan from 1984. At that point, I interrupted the woman and became aggressive with her, telling her that she was NOT with my place of employment, and could not identify herself as such.
She then stated she was with the department of Education. I aggressively challenged that, and refused to let the call continue until she told me that she was or was not, in fact, working directly for the Department of Education. At one point, she asked me why it mattered, and I just said it did (knowing if she said that she was, in fact, working for the Department of Education, I had them in an instance of fraud).
The call was taken out of her control by another person (maybe a supervisor, I don't know) who was extremely arrogant and threatened to garnish my wages. I told him that he could not do that without a trial, and he said, "try me."
I told them to not call me again, and sent a letter stating such.
I haven't heard anything until now.
I just received a letter, on extremely poor quality paper (clue one) xerox'ed with the seal of the Department of Education in one corner, and at the top it stated: U. S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
On the letter, there was no return address. The return address on the envelope was in Texas. The first three pages, typed in all capital letters and also obviously xerox'ed, was a long threatening looking block of how I needed to repay this immediately or my wages would be garnished. At the end of this block of information was a number. Behind these three pages were pages downloaded from the Department of Education website for requesting hearings and/or filing for a hardship.
Two more things jumped out at me: First, there wasn't any mention of how much I owed. Just a full paragraph stating if I did not make arrangements to pay or pay in full, I would have my wages garnished. (How can I pay something when there is no amount I supposedly owe?)
Secondly, the number at the end of the first three pages was a different number than the ones downloaded and printed from the actual US Department of Education website. I called the first number, on a holiday weekend. It was to NCO Financial Group.
They are committing fraud by stating they ARE the government, namely, the US Department of Education. This week I am filing a fraud complaint with my state's Attorney General's office against them. I am also looking into obtaining a lawyer and suing them for harassment and fraud.
Reply from DebtCollectionAnswers:
Thank you for sharing your complaint. Under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debt collector cannot misrepresent the character or status of a debt, and it cannot impersonate someone else to collect a debt.
You are doing the right thing to file a complaint (though we would also suggest you file one with the Federal Trade Commission) and by talking with a consumer law attorney.
We would strongly recommend you talk with a consumer law attorney with experience in debt collection cases. Find out how to get a FREE consultation with a consumer law attorney here.
Jennifer, please do come back and let us know how this turns out for you.