Operation Corrupt Collector

The Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection works hard, day in and day out, to protect Kentuckians from the financial loss associated with phantom debt collection schemes. 

In September of 2020, Attorney General Cameron, along with the FTC and state and federal law enforcement partners, announced Operation Corrupt Collector, a sweep against fake and abusive debt collectors. 

The operation includes five FTC actions and two new cases against fraudulent debt collectors. In each of the new FTC cases, companies claimed to be collecting debts that they can’t legally collect, or that people don’t owe. In these cases, companies made robocalls and informed consumers they had been sued, or soon will be if they didn’t pay the debt.

In cases announced by law enforcement partners, the companies called consumers claiming to be law enforcement officials or attorneys and threatened them with arrest at their workplace, prison, or suspension of their driver’s license if they didn’t pay right away.   

To avoid becoming a victim of a debt collection scam, Kentuckians should: 

1. Find out who’s calling. Get the name of the collector, the collection company, its address, and phone number. 

2. Get “validation” information about the debt. Within five days of first contacting you, debt collectors must “validate” or tell you the amount of the debt, the name of the current creditor, and how to get the name of the original creditor. 

3. Don’t respond to threats. When scammers threaten to arrest you, suspend your driver’s license, or call your employer if you don’t pay immediately, hang up and report the collector to the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection at ag.ky.gov/scams and the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

4. Do your own detective work. Check with the original creditor. Is the debt yours? Did they sell your debt or hire a company to collect it? If so, is the caller the original creditor’s collector?

5. Dispute the debt. If you don’t owe some or all of the debt, dispute it with the collector by mail or online, even if you received validation information.

To learn more about how to handle debt collection, visit ftc.gov/debt