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Is this a scam?

CambiataCambiata Commander ShepardThe likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
Today I got a call from my mom, while I was at work. She left me a message saying that someone had called her saying they urgently needed to get in contact with me, she gave a name I don't recognize, and told me to call her back if I wanted the number for this person. When I called my mom, she told me a "Mr. Hoover" or "Mr. Hover" had wanted to contact me, had supposedly tried multiple times to try to contact me, that and that it was urgent. She said from the background noises that it sounded like a law agency. The number has a (312) area code (I don't know if we're allowed to post other people's phone numbers here, so I will refrain from doing so), which is Chicago, IL. I live in Dallas, TX. A google of the number says it belongs to "Harris & Harris", which is the name that was said when I called the number. When I called the number said I wanted to know why I had been called at a number that I haven't lived at in 7 years. The gentleman on the line said he would try to help me out, and claimed that he was working on behalf of the city of Dallas. He said the call was being recorded, then asked my name, which I verified, then asked me my address, which I flatly refused to give. I told him that I expect the whole thing was a scam, I just wanted to know what the scam was about. He repeated that he works for the city of Dallas, and I told him I didn't believe for one second that he does. At that point he said he couldn't help me without me giving information (probably true, even if it isn't a scam) and that I should contact the city of Dallas.

Was I too cautious in refusing to give my address? I realized only during the call that I should have spoofed my phone number or called from Skype or something, since they obviously hadn't had my phone number before now. After the call ended I immediately searched the Dallas county home page for outstanding warrants/tickets, and there were none under my name and DL#. Who would I call at the city of Dallas to find out, assuming it's not bullshit?

Posts

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    No phone numbers.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    Cambiata
  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    Sounds extremely fishy. Maybe I just don't know any better, but I find it very hard to believe that the city of Dallas would be hiring a law firm from Chicago to handle anything. If they do call again, ask for a specific name/number of who you can contact with the city for more information. If they can't give you that it's definitely a scam.

    NightDragonShadowhopeCambiataCasualPacificstarJusticeforPlutomcdermottShadowfireMoridin889
  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    According to their website, they're a glorified bill collector.
    Fuck 'em
    If it's 'important', they'll send a letter. Ask your mom if you've been getting any rando junk mail.

    YOLO. Swag. Whatever. Fuck it. Lets do this.
    CambiataCasualShadowfireDisruptedCapitalist
  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    I've recently done my yearly credit check, and know that at least according to all three credit agencies, there are no bills in my name that I'm unaware of, and no outstanding bills at all. Though one of the things I found on my credit report (about a month ago) was that Transunion showed an outstanding bill in my name, that neither Experion nor Equifax showed; I disputed it and Transunion removed it. However, bill collector was one of the things I thought it might be, though I at first thought it might be an attempt to reach a sister in law or cousin in law, until the guy on the phone gave my middle initial when saying my name.

    I called 311 to see if they could tell me anything, and the lady I spoke to said the city of Dallas didn't do anything of that nature (ie, having a law agency contact someone on behalf of the city).

    I'm glad for the agreement that it seems skeezy to other people as well. I'll see if I get any mail or further calls. Though from the sound of it it's my parents who are going to get harassed, and they don't know how to screen their calls. :/

  • NotYouNotYou Registered User regular
    You're overthinking it. If it's important, they'll find a way to get whatever information it is to you. Otherwise yea, don't give em a thing.

    Cambiatachrishallett83PacificstarYoSoyTheWalrusMoridin889KetBra
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    it's a scam

    if you do talk to them again, just tell them to only communicate with you in writing in the future. On the off chance it's a legit collections call (unlikely coming from a city but whatever), they'll be doing that anyway.

    ed: for reference when you owe a city/county money it's either muni taxes, utility service, or some kind of fine. They don't contract that out to collections; they just send you notice and eventually issue summons and a bench warrant if the amount's large enough (police power has its perks.) So unless there's some highly specific circumstance that you'd presumably remember which caused you to become indebted to the city of dallas, it's not that.

    It's possible it's ID theft fishing, but more likely it's data gathering for some type of consumer database

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
    Cambiata
  • CreaganCreagan Registered User regular
    If they continue to call your parents or start pestering you via the telephone, you might be able to inform somebody that you have a record of when they made all their calls and since they're recording these messages allegedly, you are going to slap them with a harassment suit if they don't cease and desist immediately.

    Unfortunately the only way to deal with really difficult people is to make it more annoying for them to deal with you than it is for you to deal with them.

    Cambiata
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    The only possible thing I could think of, is if you got some camera tickets and they sent it to collections. Dc has a shady debt collection service that dings your credit report for camera speed and stop light tickets. But you can pay that through the District of Columbia's website, but you checked Dallas's website for warrants and tickets.

    zepherin on
    Cambiata
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Creagan wrote: »
    If they continue to call your parents or start pestering you via the telephone, you might be able to inform somebody that you have a record of when they made all their calls and since they're recording these messages allegedly, you are going to slap them with a harassment suit if they don't cease and desist immediately.

    Unfortunately the only way to deal with really difficult people is to make it more annoying for them to deal with you than it is for you to deal with them.

    The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is what Creagan is referencing here.

    You basically need to tell them to only contact you via certified letter. After that, anytime they call you or anyone you know, or harass you in any form beyond that, you can sue them. Each and every time. $1000 per violation, paid directly to you.

    So, keep a log after you tell them to only contact you by certified letter and ask them for proof of the debt. Ask them their name, who they work for, and log the time. Then politely inform them that they're in violation of the FDCPA and they'll be hearing from your lawyer soon, and hang up. Once you've contacted a lawyer, they'd probably advice you to give out their number directly.

    That's generally how that works.

    Don't give any information. If they ask you to tell your address for the letter, ask them to repeat what they have and you'll confirm.

    Ladies.
    CambiataJuliusYoSoyTheWalrusAl_watCreaganDisruptedCapitalist
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    Sounds like debt collection. Could be zombie debt. Not sure what you should do in your specific situation. If it were via snail mail I'd respond in writing disputing the debt (it isn't yours) and demanding debt validation. That will likely end it since they would have to provide information relating to the accounts of the original creditor being collected on. If they are harrassing you then you can demand they stop contacting you. If you are sending notices in writing you should send them certified mail with return receipts.

    Since this is phone contact I don't know how you would handle, but generally never admit the debt is yours, demand that they do correspondence in writing (do not give them an address if they don't have it, that's their problem), and absolutely do not pay them any money (this can actually reactivate discharged or dead debt and make you liable for charges + interest - or whatever the debt collector says you owe).

    bowenCambiata
  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    I've warned my parents that whoever these people are they might try to contact them again, and to treat the call as harassment. I don't know if I will recieve any other calls, but I will proceed as suggested here, asking for the information in writing and not giving any of my own information. Thanks all.

    Leave the gun take the cannoli...
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    It sounds to me like the person you spoke to is a private investigator or some form of bounty hunter

    don't worry not the boba fett kind

    Is there any chance that you have any kind of warrant in your name in Dallas or know anyone who may have committed a crime in that area?

  • iRevertiRevert Tactical Martha Stewart Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    Cambiata wrote: »
    Chicago, IL
    "Harris & Harris"

    http://harriscollect.com/

    "Harris & Harris is among the leading receivable recovery solution providers in the nation"


    20 seconds on google would say it's a debt collection based on Medical bills or Utility bills, without further info I can't confirm that this is the same place that contacted you but I'd be willing to wager it was.

    iRevert on
  • Al_watAl_wat Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    Creagan wrote: »
    If they continue to call your parents or start pestering you via the telephone, you might be able to inform somebody that you have a record of when they made all their calls and since they're recording these messages allegedly, you are going to slap them with a harassment suit if they don't cease and desist immediately.

    Unfortunately the only way to deal with really difficult people is to make it more annoying for them to deal with you than it is for you to deal with them.

    The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is what Creagan is referencing here.

    You basically need to tell them to only contact you via certified letter. After that, anytime they call you or anyone you know, or harass you in any form beyond that, you can sue them. Each and every time. $1000 per violation, paid directly to you.

    So, keep a log after you tell them to only contact you by certified letter and ask them for proof of the debt. Ask them their name, who they work for, and log the time. Then politely inform them that they're in violation of the FDCPA and they'll be hearing from your lawyer soon, and hang up. Once you've contacted a lawyer, they'd probably advice you to give out their number directly.

    That's generally how that works.

    Don't give any information. If they ask you to tell your address for the letter, ask them to repeat what they have and you'll confirm.

    this this this this this

    One thing they may do is - when you tell them on the phone to only contact you by mail, they will continue calling and then deny that you ever told them that. They may demand that you fax, mail or email the request. However you do it; do it in a way that is traceable and provable in court if necessary.

    PSN: AWATTT66| XBox Live: AWATTT66| Steam: AL-WAT| Battle.Net: ALWATTS #1320
    Origin: aiwatt| Switch: SW-8499-0918-5960
    bowen
  • CreaganCreagan Registered User regular
    Al_wat wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    Creagan wrote: »
    If they continue to call your parents or start pestering you via the telephone, you might be able to inform somebody that you have a record of when they made all their calls and since they're recording these messages allegedly, you are going to slap them with a harassment suit if they don't cease and desist immediately.

    Unfortunately the only way to deal with really difficult people is to make it more annoying for them to deal with you than it is for you to deal with them.

    The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is what Creagan is referencing here.

    You basically need to tell them to only contact you via certified letter. After that, anytime they call you or anyone you know, or harass you in any form beyond that, you can sue them. Each and every time. $1000 per violation, paid directly to you.

    So, keep a log after you tell them to only contact you by certified letter and ask them for proof of the debt. Ask them their name, who they work for, and log the time. Then politely inform them that they're in violation of the FDCPA and they'll be hearing from your lawyer soon, and hang up. Once you've contacted a lawyer, they'd probably advice you to give out their number directly.

    That's generally how that works.

    Don't give any information. If they ask you to tell your address for the letter, ask them to repeat what they have and you'll confirm.

    this this this this this

    One thing they may do is - when you tell them on the phone to only contact you by mail, they will continue calling and then deny that you ever told them that. They may demand that you fax, mail or email the request. However you do it; do it in a way that is traceable and provable in court if necessary.

    A quick way to do that would to video yourself answering the phone, putting them on "speaker phone" and informing them that you're going to record the call and that all further communication will be understood as consent to recording- including future phone calls from the company to yourself or relatives. Insist that they verbally state they understand what you have just stated and hanging up without replying will be received as understanding.

    I'm pretty sure that will take care of any state laws requiring both parties consent to a recording being used as evidence in court. At the very least it'll piss them off.

    bowen
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    ed: for reference when you owe a city/county money it's either muni taxes, utility service, or some kind of fine. They don't contract that out to collections; they just send you notice and eventually issue summons and a bench warrant if the amount's large enough (police power has its perks.) So unless there's some highly specific circumstance that you'd presumably remember which caused you to become indebted to the city of dallas, it's not that.

    This isn't necessarily the case. I know my speeding ticket last year got sent off to collections, rather than issue a bench warrant, which I found interesting (because I thought the same thing you did). And that was a legitimate from-an-officer ticket (county sheriff), no camera or anything. I believe our city will send trash/water bills outstanding to collections too.

    mcdermott on
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Harris & Harris Understands Government

    Government Entities across the country are experiencing an escalating amount of bad debt and various budget cuts. This has led to a greater demand for the effective collection of user fees, fines and other obligations. Improving recovery rates while keeping costs down is a challenge for every level of government. In addition, we are fully aware that your reputation as a public official is crucial to your success. We realize the importance of serving and protecting your constituents, especially as it relates to favorably impacting outcomes in upcoming elections.

    Seems likely enough that it's this collections agency, not a straight-up phishing scam.
    Was I too cautious in refusing to give my address? I realized only during the call that I should have spoofed my phone number or called from Skype or something, since they obviously hadn't had my phone number before now. After the call ended I immediately searched the Dallas county home page for outstanding warrants/tickets, and there were none under my name and DL#. Who would I call at the city of Dallas to find out, assuming it's not bullshit?

    There's no such thing as 'too cautious' when it comes to phone calls from unknown people. You definitely did the right thing by refusing to give them any information.


    I honestly wouldn't even bother calling the city; if there's a problem, they should be sending you letters / invoices, not random phone calls to the wrong address. If they start trying to harass you over the phone, like folks have already said, tell them to stop.

    With Love and Courage
    bowenCambiataMoridin889
  • PBRSTREETGANGPBRSTREETGANG Registered User new member
    H & H Ltd of Chicago Collections SCAM... March 12th 2019

    I received a bill today from H & H Ltd of Chicago IL for an unpaid toll bill in San Diego CA.
    I don't even live in San Diego... I live in Texas. I haven't set foot in the state of California for over 15 years.
    The H & H letter provides date and time of the toll and the location and even the license plate number.
    November 30th 2018 at exactly 4:30PM on the South Bay Expressway in southern San Diego county.
    It's funny because at that exact time I was at my job in Troy Texas... and the license plate number doesn't even match either of my two vehicles.
    The California street address they listed for me , I've never been to ,or even heard of.
    But somehow they managed to get my mailing address here in Texas... Strange. How did they attach my name to this toll charge.
    I phoned H & H to inquire... The person I spoke with lied to me several times regarding this bill and demanded immediate payment, threatened to have this placed on my credit report and gave me a false email address where I could check the legitimacy of the City of San Diego claim.
    So I started doing so checking and the BBB has numerous complaints logged for H & H... and I found some other information about how this operation runs it's scam... holding someone's credit report hostage until the payments are made.
    So YES! This is a complete scam operation.
    So... Now I have to waste my time and effort and probably even a considerable amount of money to defeat this unlawful SCAM...

    Does anyone have any advise on the best way to deal with these assholes?

  • SiskaSiska Shorty Registered User regular
    edited March 13
    H & H Ltd of Chicago Collections SCAM... March 12th 2019

    I received a bill today from H & H Ltd of Chicago IL for an unpaid toll bill in San Diego CA.
    I don't even live in San Diego... I live in Texas. I haven't set foot in the state of California for over 15 years.
    The H & H letter provides date and time of the toll and the location and even the license plate number.
    November 30th 2018 at exactly 4:30PM on the South Bay Expressway in southern San Diego county.
    It's funny because at that exact time I was at my job in Troy Texas... and the license plate number doesn't even match either of my two vehicles.
    The California street address they listed for me , I've never been to ,or even heard of.
    But somehow they managed to get my mailing address here in Texas... Strange. How did they attach my name to this toll charge.
    I phoned H & H to inquire... The person I spoke with lied to me several times regarding this bill and demanded immediate payment, threatened to have this placed on my credit report and gave me a false email address where I could check the legitimacy of the City of San Diego claim.
    So I started doing so checking and the BBB has numerous complaints logged for H & H... and I found some other information about how this operation runs it's scam... holding someone's credit report hostage until the payments are made.
    So YES! This is a complete scam operation.
    So... Now I have to waste my time and effort and probably even a considerable amount of money to defeat this unlawful SCAM...

    Does anyone have any advise on the best way to deal with these assholes?

    Don't give them any personal identifying information. The less info they have the harder it is for them to pin a false dept on you. Keep an eye on your credit report. If they do ding your report you can contest it and the fact that you don't own the car in question might be enough. Here's some more useful info Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

    *edit* Perhaps call the DMV to check and make sure there is no "mystery car" in your name. Also, explain to them your situation and see if there is some kind of official proof you can get from them of all cars in your name in 2018. In case you need to contest a credit ding or other shenanigans.

    Siska on
    Izuela.png
This discussion has been closed.