The Federal Trade Commission announced that, at its request, a U.S. District Court shut down three companies doing business as Rumson, Bolling & Associates, a California-based debt collection agency. According to the FTC’s press release, the agency alleged that the debt collector abused consumers and deceived its own clients. The FTC’s complaint said that the debt collection agency:
* Harassed and abused consumers by threatening physical harm and death to them and their pets, threatened to desecrate the bodies of deceased relatives, and used obscene and profane language;
* Improperly revealed consumers’ debts to third parties, such as the consumers’ employers, co-workers, neighbors, and family members;
* Falsely threatened consumers with lawsuits, arrest, seizure of their assets, or wage garnishment; and
* Falsely claimed that consumers would be liable for legal fees incurred in the collection of the debt.
When it comes to debt collection agencies, it’s often difficult to know who you’re dealing with. Companies come and go, are bought and sold, and often go by many different names. The FTC complaint highlights this problem, as the defendants included “Forensic Case Management Services, Inc. (doing business as Rumson, Bolling & Associates, FCMS, Inc., Commercial Recovery Solutions, Inc., and Commercial Investigations, Inc.), Specialized Recovery, Inc. (doing business as Joseph, Steven & Associates and Specialized Debt Recovery), Commercial Receivables Acquisition, Inc. (doing business as Commercial Recovery Authority, Inc. and The Forwarding Company),” as well as six individuals.