Legal process server tips you should know; don’t fall for scams

By Robb Hicken/BBB’s chief storyteller

When Sam received a phone call from a process server, he racked his memory to come up with why someone would want to take him to court.

“The caller had a blocked number,” the Boise resident says. “They told me they had some legal paperwork to serve me and wanted to verify my address and social security number.”

In this world where everything is online, he went to the State Repository for any new court cases under his name and didn’t find anything. He called the Ada County Courts, fearing that perhaps he’d missed something. The clerk did several searches and found nothing.

“I was beside myself,” Sam says. “I was puzzled why they would need my social security number, as well.”

While Sam didn’t have a company name or phone number – it was blocked – he did call BBB to see what he should do to protect his identity.

Aggressive collection tactics plague residents, as loan agents try new methods to find defaulting borrowers by acting as process servers.

Scammers are posing as process servers and showing up at your place of work and home, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

Idaho does not need a license to be a process server. A group, Idaho Process Server, has established a set of guidelines – Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure – that should be followed. The guidelines do not set out what a process server can ask of an individual. The group refers to the Idaho Judicial Branch for questions and concerns. It, too, does not outline process server standards.

High-pressure collection tactics have also evolved. In one complaint, a fake process server actually came to the victim’s work. In another instance, he/she came to a victim’s home. In both cases, the alleged process server said the victim could avoid going to court if he paid immediately.

BBB heard someone posing as a victim called Ada County Court and asked for personal information.

“The caller had an Indian accent and had a blocked phone number,” says the court clerk, who asked to not be identified. “He gave a name and wanted to see if he’d paid the judgment. He was trying to use legal language to learn if a judgment had been satisfied.”

Apparently, this man didn’t have the case number, just the name.

“I searched the name he gave and found only one case, and I mentioned there was only one case and he said that had to be the case,” she says. “He said he wanted to verify this was the right person and asked what the SSN and address was for the person. I answered that we don’t give out personal information like that.”



Filed under News You Can Trust

3 responses to “Legal process server tips you should know; don’t fall for scams

  1. Mark Burrows

    Here is a real simple rule. Under no circumstance do you provide verification information to incoming calls. Think about it. Security information is for your protection so YOU can access YOUR accounts and information. Even in fiction, when secret agents call in they are asked for their password. When the agency calls the agent, they don’t ask for a password. he does, if necessary.
    Otherwise, no has the right to call you and request information from you. If you want to have some fun, then ask for the password. When the ask what password? Then you simply reply, the one the was given in an earlier communication, if you do not know it, then I must assume that you are a fraud.

  2. Ameila

    I like the reply for asking for a password. If this information could just be gotten out to the elderly there would not so many elderly loosing their money.

    • Mark Burrows

      It is not difficult to learn aggressive defensive tactics against callers. When it come right down to it. If you are really doing something wrong, you know it. Even still you have certain rights because you may have been driven to debt by forced beyond your control. The law is still on your side. Anyone who hands you legal papers as a server will have all of the facts that they need. It is sad that serving papers fell into the hands of private practice where at one time they were only handed out by uniformed law enforcement. Therefore documentation had to come with identification that could be phoned in and confirmed. But tax cuts to law enforcement meant that there were not enough in the budget to to deal with paperwork. Now you are confronted with either legitimate bullies or scamming con artists. That’s bureaucracy for you as well as ironic miscarriage of justice. Governments do not wish to fund public policing, and public police do not wish to to the serve part of the “Serve and Protect” motto. Thus we the people become the victims of a fall out system where they want our votes, want our taxes, decrease our benefits, and forget the words of Abraham Lincoln, the only Republic who was a true Democrat, said, “A government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the Earth.”
      Well, here is another little nugget that the great Abraham Lincoln said. “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will because we destroyed ourselves.”
      In my opinion, that just about makes Abe either one heck of a prophet or one amazing seer. Move over Nostradamus.

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