Thursday, July 7, 2011

Scam, Fraud, and a Phone Call

I know the title doesn't sound like its coming from the usual Tea Rose Home. I am going to tell you what happened to us over the last couple of days that was a little scary.

It will be a long post, I’ll tell you that up front; if you are interested keep on reading, if not, please come back to my next post which will be a fun and crafty post. :)

A couple days ago, I noticed that someone left a message on my cell phone. I am not the type that is too attached to my phone, so I always leave it in my purse or car or who knows where, so I listened to the massage pretty late that evening.

The message was to my husband by a girl named "Rachel" with a really thick Indian accent. English being my second language, I have hard time understanding people with thick accents. I didn't understand what she was saying because of the accent but I caught the word like "Cash loan America", "owe money", "If we don't pay they will sue us and take us to court". WHAT?! I thought.

First of all, we NEVER borrow money from places like that, EVER, besides, I hardly ever give out my cell phone number, and why is she asking for my husband?

Late at night, my husband got home and I told him about the massage. He called back immediately, but it went straight to voice mail and it said the box was full. It didn’t even identify a person or business.

My husband called in the morning, and it went to the machine again, but he called the number again. This time, a guy (with a thick accent) answered the phone and said, “Hello?” Kind of like he was not expecting anyone to call.

So my husband, who I will refer to as Mr. TRH from now on, immediately asked, “Who is this that I am calling?"

The person on the other end asked him if we had been called previously. Mr. TRH said, "Someone named Rachel called us and said we owe money, blah, blah, blah...", he basically, told what we know, without telling him any more information about us of course.

Then the guy said, "This is about the loan that you took out.”

Mr. TRH responded, “What loan?”

“The advance payday loan of $700”

“From where? When? Who are you?”

He told Mr. TRH that the loan was from Cash Advance America, a payday loan company.

Mr.TRH said, "I never borrow money from places like that, When did this happen? What is the store location? And who are you?"

The guy said that it was over the internet, to which Mr. TRH shot back, “That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, you never borrow money like that over the internet! I never borrowed money from that place; you will not get a dime!”

He responded a bit agitated and somewhat flustered, “Then why do I have your file!”

“I don’t care! What is your name? When did this loan happen?”

“Let me check my file.” He heard some paper rustling in the background. “It was November 17th of 2010.”

Mr. TRH then asked a barrage of questions not letting him make up any excuses make up information. “Where did the money go?” … “I mean the money was borrowed, what mailing address, what bank did it go to? What is your name?”

He said, “Let me check” then hung up.

Picture from: The TB Joshua Blog

Oh, you do not do that to my Mr. TRH. He is such a fun, kind and loving person, but if he needs to, well, especially to protect his family he will be a ROARING LION and Mr. TRH wasn’t finished. He called this scammer right back. This time the guy answered, “Hi this is Dominic from Debt Solutions.”

Mr. TRH lit into him, “Don’t you hang up on me! I want to know where this $700 from Cash Advanced America went to!”

He replied, “Huh, what happened?” (Oh, wrong response Dominic. You really should have known by now that you picked the wrong person to scam. Mr. TRH was in attack mode, he was turning into Chuck Norris and Steven Seagal.)

"What happened? You hung up the phone, and I was not done talking. So, answer my questions!"

Completely upset and surprised, he screamed, “This is not a payday loan!!!”

“I didn’t say payday! I said Cash Advanced America which is what you said earlier!”

Trying to regain his composure Dominic (whatever his name is) said, “This is not a loan, we sent you *an unintelligible phrase* to help you with your electric bill.” Huh? Isn’t this guy from Debt Solutions, now they switch to a sales company?

I was sitting right there and listening to the whole conversations. I could see the Mr. TRH was starting to get irritated but trying to be calm about it...but he was not done talking.

“I don’t know what a-”, Mr. TRH really couldn’t understand what the guy was saying so he mimicked him over that part and continued. “-is! I want to talk about this Cash Advanced Loan.”

Dominic then started speaking angrily, fast and either in a really heavy accent or in another language altogether before finally saying, “I feel like we are not on the same page!”

Mr. TRH told him to calm down and speak more clearly so that he could understand Dominic.

Dominic started to explain that his company has a device that can help lower our electric bill and was surprised that we never received such a device and offered to send us one.

Wow, really? His story changed from "you owe us money" to "You should have received something from us, so you need to pay" to "would you like us to send you one". At this point Mr.TRH's patience toward the guy or the situation was reaching the boiling point.

Basically before hung up the phone, Mr.TRH told the guy; "Listen, we never borrowed money from any place. I never want to hear from you. DO NOT CALL US! DO NOT EMAIL US! DON’T SEND US ANYTHING and I DON'T EVEN WANT TO KNOW THAT YOU EXSIST!"

Click. That was it. All my kids were in the same room doing their reading minutes, but they were stunned. Their eyes were wide open with surprise and curiosity. We had a talk with them that we should usually never talk to people with that kind of tone (but I am so proud of him, he never swore. He was simply making his point to those scammers). But I also told our children how I truly felt. The “bad guys” deserved it.

After the phone call, I still felt somewhat violated, so I wanted to find out if there are other people had the same experience we had. We went online and googled "Cash Advance America Scam"". We even looked up their number on Google and found other accounts very similar to our own as well.

It makes me sick to my stomach that people like that exist. I would love to think that we live in perfect world, but we do not. Some people are so dishonest and don’t care about putting other people in jeopardy. That’s why we need to educate ourselves and be watchful. I wanted you, my dear Tea Rose Home Readers, to know things like this are going around and to be aware of it.

There are a few things that I can pass on to you:

Here’s what to do if you receive a suspicious telephone call regarding an outstanding debt:

1) Ask the caller to provide official documentation verifying the debt.
2) Don’t provide or confirm any bank account, credit card, or other personal information over the phone.
3) Report suspicious calls to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-382-4357 or

Whew! See you at the next post.


  1. thanks so much for this information!! I am so afraid of scam artists... they are the worse!! You did the right thing and I appreciate you sharing your story!

  2. Wow! I'm so sorry to hear that this happened to you. But, thank God your husband was very wise in handling it. I hate that our phone numbers are open to this kind of stuff - even with the 'do not call' lists. Last week I had a similar situation. It was also from some debt collection agency whose name I don't remember. They said that I owed money to a dental facility in the next town (who doesn't even have a dentist). I told them that I had never been there and that they must have the wrong person. I have a pretty common name. He then wanted to know the last 4 digits of my SSN to verify. Yeah, right! I told him he could give the last 4 digits of what he had and I would let him know if it was me. Of course it wasn't, so he promptly hung up. All of his insistence was after I assured him that I had no debt what-so-ever. His response was, "Then why do I have your file?" Scammers can be relentless. It's a shame. I'm glad it all worked out for you. I doubt you'll be hearing back from "Dominic" or "Rachael".

    Hope you have a good weekend. :0)

  3. Wow! That was crazy! We have had scam calls before but never like that. You're husband did a good job!

  4. We regularly get emails from scammers telling us that someone has died and left us millions..please send hundreds or thousands to free the money..they go straight to Junk Mail and some days we joke about how many millions we've been offered! Last weekend we got an email supposedly from a friend asking us for money to pay her excess baggage from Heathrow Airport..funnily enough you pay excess baggage before you get on a plane not when you land!! Caught out again Mr Scammer! Sadly though this scammer had hijacked this friends email account and her facebook page and was sending out messages from them, posing as her.

  5. I hate scam stuff like that and it seems to be all over ~ I just totally ignore them ~

  6. So glad you and your hubby didn't fall for it! Unfortunately, so many people do. That's why scammers continue to do what they do.

    Have a great weekend!

  7. oh my... what a stroy. This kind of people are over all this earth and make damage!!! You also can do a report to the police in these situations, at least in the Netherlands you can!!!
    We have to be aware of what we do and say...

    I hope and p[ray that there is some rest now in your family....
    love Miranda

  8. This too, happened to me! If I were you, I would check, and double check your credit report. These same people called my bank, to try to electronically withdraw money, luckily the bank teller knew my husband from church, and would not allow it to process, instead called us directly. Said the man who claimed to be my husband had my hubs bday, social security, address, and home #. This happened EXACTLY one week after we began getting those calls from Cash America.....claiming that we borrowed 1200 online~! So, we set up a pass code at the bank that is used, whenever we are working with our accounts for anything! So, like I said, if I were you, I would double check my credit score.....and call your bank! Chances are, as bad as i HATE to say it, they probably have more than your cell phone number...... :( People are so mean and we need to pray for them! Best of luck!

  9. How frustrating! Thanks for sharing your experience so we can look out for this scam!

  10. Wow, that is really scary! I'm glad you all figured it out and that Mr. TRH was able to handle the situation. Thanks for blogging about it and passing on the tips for us.

  11. We had a similar call from "Debt Solutions". I just kept asking to speak the the manager, and finally someone got on the phone claiming to be the manager. He got so frustrated with me that he yelled at me, calling me names, and hung up. Sorry you went through that, but grateful you didn't get scammed.

  12. I am a law student, and I come across this kind of stuff all the time at my work. Not only can you ask for validation of the debt, they are required by law to provide it and show that they own your debt.

    Even if it is a legitimate debt, they are not allowed to harrass you or threaten to take your house or bank accounts or anything like that. Sounds like you were dealing with some real scumbags.

    So glad your husband stood up to that bully! And thank you for spreading the word about this scam--I hadn't heard of it!

  13. Wow!!! Good for your husband!!! If only all the scheming, evil people in the world would devote their energy to good, can you imagine what a pleasant world we might live in? Because that would be a TON of positive energy, lemme tellya....ah well, a girl can dream...

  14. Thanks for sharing! We got a call in our cell while we were on vacation from someone saying we owed money on our AMEX card and needed to make a payment over the phone. We had paid our card off fiveimths earlier so we just ignored the call. But they kept calling back asking for money. Finally we called AMEX to find out if we really owed money. It turned out we did! Costco had automatically renewed our membership on our card and I didn't know it. That silly 100 bucks sure caused a mess. The lesson I learned is to continue checking your card balances even if you don't use them.

  15. You guys are awesome. I never waste my breath on anybody with a toll free number calling me :) My husband would do the same thing as yours.

  16. :( Glad Mr. TRH took care of it. I got scammed by a third party claiming I'd signed up for their service on my phone. It wasn't that much but it's the principle that people take money from others that doesn't belong to them. Unfortunately my cell phone provider didn't do anything about it so I had to pay the fee.

  17. How awful that you had to go through that. But great information in the end, and boy, your husband did great! I hope you did report them. They should definitely be prosecuted. What they are doing is illegal.

  18. If you're nervous as to whether or not you owe a caller money, you can tell them a) that you want written verification to of the debt (also a good opportunity to find out whether they have your address) and a) that you will only deal with them in writing for which you will need their address (then you can see if it's even a real address). For an actual debt they are required to provide written verification if you request it and must deal with you in writing if you send them written notification. So if it's real debt they will most likely have you're real address, give you a real address, and then send you a letter which you can research. If it's fake debt they'll most likely be caught off guard, not have you're real address and/or give you a fake address, and/or you'll never hear from them again.

  19. Your DH sounds like he handled it just right! When someone is trying to man handle a situation to scare money out of people the first thing in the past when such a thing as this has happened to me.... I call the police and give them the number and ask if they have had any previous calls/complaints about this #. The couple of times that I've done this, they say yes! So, it's comforting to know that the police are aware of them... and as you've said... never give out information.
    Way to protect your family Mr. TeaRose!!!! You just got lots of brownie points from this end of the country! And noooo I'm not going to tell you where I live! LoL.....

  20. Your DH sounds like he handled it just right! When someone is trying to man handle a situation to scare money out of people the first thing in the past when such a thing as this has happened to me.... I call the police and give them the number and ask if they have had any previous calls/complaints about this #. The couple of times that I've done this, they say yes! So, it's comforting to know that the police are aware of them... and as you've said... never give out information.
    Way to protect your family Mr. TeaRose!!!! You just got lots of brownie points from this end of the country! And noooo I'm not going to tell you where I live! LoL.....

  21. The very first thing I do with any strange phone call is I dont answer them. Then I check out the number online. Most of those numbers are scammers and you will see a list of people going thru this and what was said. I have one that will not stop calling. A debt collection place called ERC. The online url they give doesnt exist. You cannot get a real person to complain to and calling the number says it doesnt exist do they do that? The name they ask for isnt even ours but I just wanted the calls to stop. So we listened to the msg. hoping to get some info or a person. Theres just no way out of it. And so now I see the ERC on caller ID and click on and off of it right away. They do it for a few days then stop. I hope that by doing this and them never getting any response, it will eventually stop. It has eased up alot. They used to call daily, now its maybe once a month. But this nonsense really has to stop. What awful people to do this to others. Im glad your hubby let them have it. Make a log tho of the number, date and conversation and if they do call back tell them you will report them. I understand with harassing calls like this you can get $1500 if you get the right folks involved. Not sure how true it is but several people have said so. And if your not on the Do Not Call list , get on it. Of course that still wont stop idiots like this but it will stop others. Once I tell them to remove my number Im on that list, most are pretty cooperative. :)

  22. I never pick up numbers that I don't recognize and also never call them back if there is anything suspicious about a message.
    Recently we've been getting calls saying "we spoke with you last week regarding your credit cards bills and I have a solution for you." Very bright, cheerful American English speaking voice.
    I have not had a credit card in over 10 years and no credit card debt. (Sadly, without a credit card my FICO score suffers.)
    Not only do I know that is a scam but we are on our state's No Call list, so I should be able to get them as a violation of that
    except that I do not respond to those calls. It is amazing how often they keep calling without giving up.
    What I would suggest, if they give you a toll free number to call them, is to go to a public phone (are there still pay phones?) so they do not get your personal phone number.
    Thanks for putting out the information for filing complaints.

    You know these people also never pay their bills (phone, internet, whatever) used to run these scams. They shut down and start up again.

    I had a friend who had someone use his address for a scam. Got the utility bills switched to a bogus name. Then opened credit using that address.
    My friend has been in his house for over 20 years, did not authorize any changes, and the utility is coming after him for disconnect and reconnection fees as well as money they have billed to this unknown person.
    And they say technology makes all things work so much better?

  23. WE had almost the EXACT same thing last year! I was so confused. They said they were holding my husbands social security (right at the time we went out of the country) so I thought something happened while we were gone. They wanted money and our social security info and address stuff like that. We could not understand a word they said and I was so angry people try to do this kind of stuff!

  24. Thanks for sharing. Sorry you had to go through that!


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