A social security card sits atop a wooden table with the American flag displayed in the background.
Protection & Security

We are committed to educating our community members about scams targeting seniors in Santa Clara County; as well as providing up-to-date information offering protection against such scams. This page offers timely data about scams reported, steps to take when targeted, and how to avoid these scams. Guidance is made available as scams are identified.

Receive updates on identified scams targeting seniors by visiting the national database: fraud.org

Report Phantom Debt Collectors

Date Published

Friday, February 8, 2019

Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit against Global Asset Financial Services Group (GAFS) and fifteen related defendants for operating a fake debt collection scheme. The FTC’s complaint says that GAFS employees claimed to be lawyers or affiliated with law firms. In fact, they were not lawyers and had no authority to collect debts.

Phantom debt collectors oftentimes claim to be a lawyer and threaten legal action if you don’t pay, using tactics such as: lies, harassment, and intimidation.

The fraudulent scheme deceived millions of dollars from consumers for debts they did not owe. At the FTC’s request, a federal court has temporarily halted the operation and frozen its assets. These actions are part of the FTC’s continuing crackdown on abusive and phantom debt collectors.

Be wary of debt collector who attempts to scare you. Knowing your legal rights is essential, because you can spot inaccurate claims. By law, debt collectors have to send you a validation notice in writing, within five days of contacting you. Not receiving a letter is a red flag, and debt collectors may not legally call to threaten, harass or intimidate you to pay a debt.

If you, or someone you know, have gotten a suspicious debt collection call, report it to the FTC.

If you are interested in learning more about reporting fraudulent debt collection, speak with a Community Resource Specialist: (408) 350-3200, option 1.