Debt Collection Scam hits Elderly in Ruston Area!

Scams against the elderly are on the rise. Even the elderly in the Ruston area are being targeted by unscrupulous debt collectors resulting in the loss of thousands of dollars.  Recently, an elderly client, Mr. Smith (not his real name) was terrorized by an out-of-state debt buyer. A debt buyer is a company that buys old, often uncollectible debts from the original creditor for pennies on the dollar.   Mr. Smith, a man in his 80s, lost his wife to cancer nearly 20 years ago.  While she was ill, the couple ran up a large credit card bill for living expenses, and in the end the client was unable to pay them.  The debts were written-off by the credit card company as uncollectible many years ago.  At some point a debt buyer purchased the account.

Last month, 18 years later, and long after the statute of limitations on the debt had run, Mr. Smith received a phone call from the debt buyer.  The caller threatened to take Mr. Smith’s bank account and to garnish his social security, his only income, if he didn’t comply with the demand for immediate payment. Afraid he would lose everything, Mr. Smith agreed to pay $4000 that day, and make monthly payments against the remaining balance. Mr. Smith gave the collector his credit card number and access to other financial information.  A few days later, Mr. Smith began to wonder if he had done the right thing.  He contacted his credit card company, but the credit card company refused to reverse the $4000 charges.  Devastated and in tears, Mr. Smith contacted the Elder Care Law Attorneys at Goff and Goff.  Bank accounts cannot be garnished without first proving the validity of the debt in court and obtaining a judgment. Social security is not subject to garnishment for bad credit card debts.  The debt collector lied to scare this vulnerable senior into paying a debt that was no longer due.

The attorneys at Goff and Goff were able to get the client’s money back quickly, but only because he realized something wasn’t right and took action.  PLEASE alert your elderly friends and relatives to be weary of these types of calls!  If they have already been scammed, they need to take action immediately.  Call an attorney.  If you call Goff and Goff, we would be honored to help.  We practice in the areas of Elder Law, Family Law, Wills and Estates, Successions, Personal Injury and Criminal Law