A phantom collection agency using the name ACS Debt Collection USA , Cash NET USA and several other variations (see list below), is using Social Security and driver license numbers to dupe Central Florida consumers into paying a debt that doesn’t exist.
News 6 viewer Sharon said she knew the notice didn’t make sense.
“Oh, it was a bluff,” she said. ”I’m a senior on a fixed income and there is no way I had a debt of that amount.”
The amounts can vary but the alleged “financial fraud “charges are identical in every email News 6 has seen:
1. Violation of federal banking regulations.
2. Collateral check fraud
3. Theft by deception
In Sharon’s case ( she asked to remain anonymous ) one email claimed she owed just under $5,000 while another was almost double at $9,000.
Erica Urdaneta a spokesperson for the Central Florida BBB said the complaints against the company date back to 2013.
“There is no way of tracking who these people are or where your money is going,” Urdaneta told News 6.
The company has been using a Clearwater address on U.S. highway 19 but both News 6 and the Better Business Bureau confirmed the company never operated in that location and is not licensed in the state.
The BBB Clearwater office said it issued an F rating for the company after receiving roughly 1,600 complaints for ACS Debt Collection and about a dozen variations of that company name.
The email notice uses a form letter that suggests the company is giving you a chance to pay the debt without a court proceeding because “you have been never charged for a fraud activity.”
If you call the conmen ask victims to pay the bill using green dot money cards.
Urdaneta said consumers that tried to call to get an explanation ended up getting a high dose of “abusive language and intimidation tactics.”
The BBB has collected a list of Alternate Business Names: Ace Cash Services, ACS Affidavit Consultants, ACS Incorporation Collection (Phont Debt Collection), Affidavit Processing Services, Advance America (Phony Debt Collector), ACS Legal (Phony Debt Collector), ACS Legal Services. LLC, National Affidavit Processing Department, United Financial Crime Division, ACS Incorp USA, ACS Law Group, Advance Cash America (Phony Debt Collector), FCS. INC, Oak Grove Law Firm, Fast Cash Services USA, ACS Debt, American Collection Agency, Affiliated Consumer Services, Cash Advance USA (Phony Debt Collection), Ace Inc, Martin Cooper Law Group, Ace Cash (Phony Debt Collector), Speedy Cash
The IRS has a link with tips on identity protection at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/identity-protection-tips