You Owe us A Zillion Dollars!

Yet another in the seemingly endless series of phone or email scams has surfaced – That of the “Phantom Debt Collector.” Just like the other scams that ask you to pay a fine or you’ll be arrested for child porn or some such, these play on sometimes legitimate fears that you may have an unpaid debt somewhere in your past, particularly if you’ve ever applied (even if you didn’t actually get it) a payday loan or similar product.

They often reference some small debt of a few hundred dollars, and sometimes threaten legal action if the debt is not immediately paid. The threats may look something like this; Note the bad grammar.

If you fail to respond us the Charges will be pressed against the name are:

1. Violation of federal banking regulation act 1983 (C)

2. Collateral check fraud

3. Theft by deception (ACC ACT 21A)


Again, like all suspect emails – and phone calls – Ask for details; in other words, demand proof that you owe the money. Ask for an address and phone number. Try calling the company back. Check your credit report at – Any legitimate outstanding debts should show up.

If you know you don’t owe anyone anything, just mark the email “Junk” and don’t click any links or respond. If you have any doubts, don’t click the links either – call the company and ask for documentation.

Why do people do this? Because it works! It’s not too hard to scare people into paying up when the fear of legal action is dangled over their heads.

When I asked alleged phantom debt collector for comment, I was told I owe $935.76.

Phantom debt collector comes after me, again (here’s what those emails look like)

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