FTC Returns Money to Consumers in Phantom Debt Collection Scam

The Federal Trade Commission is mailing checks totaling $16,428.74 to consumers harmed by an operation that used deception and threats to collect payday loan “debts” the consumers did not owe.

In February 2012, the FTC charged American Credit Crunchers LLC and its owner, Varang Thaker, with victimizing consumers who had received or inquired about online payday loans. Often pretending to be law enforcement officials, the defendants’ callers falsely threatened to put consumers in jail if they did not make a payment on a purported loan.

Consumers who receive the checks from the FTC’s refund administrator for this matter, Rust Consulting Inc., should deposit or cash them within 60 days of the mailing date. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or to provide information before refund checks can be cashed.  Each affected consumer will receive the full amount they lost, ranging from $120 to $2,990.

Consumers who receive checks and have questions can contact Rust Consulting at 1-866-306-9913. More information about the FTC’s refund program is available on the FTC’s website.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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