Doreen’s daughter hasn’t lived at home for a couple of years, so when she received a call from a company that identified itself as the Civil Investigation Unit asking for her, she grimaced.
“He said where he was from and gave me a Civil Case number THER-3279,” she says. “He said he needed information about my daughter.”
She said her daughter, an adult, wasn’t in the house, so she just hung up the phone. After thinking about it, she called BBB for some answers about why Civil Investigation Unit could call.
Civil Investigation Unit first appeared in the BBB system in January (2013), and has used its pseudo official title to intimidate people it contacts to either get information on a person, or force contact. The message goes something like this:
“We are civil investigation unit contacting you pursuant to a claim being filed against you. You have been named a respondent to a court action regarding a restraining order. Please contact your attorney. You and your attorney will have 24-48 hours to respond.”
Debt collectors work to reclaim money on past-due accounts for creditors, businesses or people.
Idaho Department of Finance director Gavin Gee says the most complaints filed in the department relate to debt collection.
“Many of these complaints involve unlicensed out-of-state collection agencies who are also violating a variety of federal and state collection laws,” he says.
Civil Investigation Unit is not licensed to do debt collection in Idaho.
Better Business Bureau reports that collection agencies ranked 3rd in number of complaints it received. With more than 24,830 complaints (in 2012), consumers need to be aware of the best practices for when it comes to handling debt collectors.
But, sometimes the “debt collector” calling turns out to be an identity thief who is trying to get you to divulge personal or financial information, such as your Social Security, bank and credit card numbers.
Oftentimes, scammers will impersonate legitimate debt collectors to illegitimately get financial information. These fraudulent calls can be harassing and threatening.
Legitimately, if you owe a debt, you need to talk with the company that you owe. Dealing with the company will oftentimes provide some measure or form of repayment. Avoiding debt collection could result in court proceedings.