Am I being scammed?

I received a voicemail yesterday (8:16 PM) which sounded very important. A Mr. Tung, of no fixed profession, of no fixed firm, of no fixed city had received a court action file that involved me. I have until 4:00 PM today to call him at his 1-866 number to clear this up.

Unbeknownst to Mr. Tung, I work for my provincial justice department, and I know that the “court action” number he gave me is bullcrap, wrong length, no alpha characters and not at all formatted correctly (there are certain values embedded, like year and division.) Now, this may be a valid American item since he kept referring to the bailiff’s office, (here we have sherrifs.) but I have been to the U.S. once in the past 3 years and the only encounter with the U.S. “law” was a traffic warning by a friendly Texan state trooper over 14 years ago.

The obvious warning signs are no firm name given, no court jurisdiction description, etc. I was about to call Mr. Tung to leave a message telling him he would not be getting my credit card number (to straighten out any issue), when my wife reminded me of a phone scam where they charge hundreds of dollars per call if you call the scammers, and it is next to impossible to reverse those charges.

Now, what do you dopers think? Am I being targeted for a scam, or am I in deep doodoo stateside?


866 is toll free here in the US, in theory, it sounds more like a scam of sorts to me, perhaps designed to ring up charges or get personal information.

I think you might be able to plug the number into google and see if it’s listed for any company.

I’m not an expert in this area, but it reeks of scam to me. How many legal authorities rely on phone calls, and a message on a machine at that, to deliver such news? Registered mail and in-person contact (e.g. process servers) are the norm in my understanding.

While the 866 prefix might be a toll-free one (call the phone company to find out), I’ve heard of deals where the caller is switched from the toll-free line to a regular line in the midst of the call. If you must call the number given you, do it from a pay phone.

Total scam. Designed to put fear in your heart. Dunno exactly what they’re selling, but I wouldn’t reply. If it happens again, notify authorities.

And in case you’re thinking of calling back anonymously, remember that you can’t hide your phone number from a 800 or 866 recipient (they pay the bills, the theory goes, so they get to see your number).

He asked for your credit card number?? :confused:

No, he did not, that was my assumption of the type of scam he was trying to run on me.

I’ve got some Canadian quarters, down here in Minnesota the damn things litter the streets. I’ll give you some to use on a payphone. For the sake of science, we must know exactly what Mr. Tung is slinging!

Using a pay phone is a great idea. I will do that sometime today and let you all know what Mr. Tung wants from me.

In the United States, a bailiff is usually a court employee who has little contact with the public except when you’re right there at the court. The sheriff’s office usually handles service of papers, transportation of prisoners, etc.

The only possible scenario I can think of where he would not leave info re specifically who he is, and is waving a “court action #” around, might be if he is a bill collector of some kind and you have some long forgotten outstanding debt he has bought and is trying to collect on.

Bill collector?

Hmmm, that is not a pleasant thought.

Another vote for - SCAM

I vote bill collector. And he likely has violated US Federal law.

Oh damn … I wanna CALL!!! LOL! Let’s ALL CALL! And we’ll say we’re calling on your behalf. That would screw them up real good.

My vote is: SCAM!

Believe me, if they wanted to find you, they would. I moved to this apartment on July 1st, 2002. At 8am on July 2nd, the bailiffs were at my door serving me with a summon for a court appearance. HOW THE HELL DID THEY FIND ME? Til I die, I’ll never figure that one out.

Sidebar… Long story short, before I moved, I had a bill collector call, for a long distance company I hadn’t paid. I had never used that company before, but his response was that it had bought a bunch of subsidiary companies. I apparently owed $110. I said, “Oh, I’m sorry about that. What address was I at, at the time?” They gave me an old address. I said, “Ok, just send me a copy of the detailed bill, and I’ll send you the money.” They couldn’t send the detailed bill, it had been too long. They could only send me what I owed.

Then, in an effort to “help me”, they told me that I could deposit money straight away into their bank account, or give them my credit card number. I DON’T THINK SO! My momma didn’t raise no fool, sweetheart. I said: Send the statement and I’ll pay.

Nothing in the mail. No phonecalls for months. Then the same call again, but from someone else. This time, I owed only $92 but the convo was a little more intense. Would I like my credit to suffer for this? Etc… My same reply: Send me the bill and I’ll pay. Still nothing.

Then I move in here. Someone calls with the same spiel, but for $89. I told them, “Listen, every time I ask for a bill, you guys don’t send me one. Not only that, the amount I ‘owe’ keeps getting lower. I’m not gonna pay if you don’t send me a bill.” Then the guy talks forever. I said, “Put yourself in my shoes, in my opinion, all my bills are paid. You keep calling me with different amounts, you want me to deposit in your bank account or to give you my credit card number. What would YOU do?” The guy replied, “I wouldn’t be in your shoes. I pay my bills.” BLIMEY! I told him that I expected a bill in the mail if he wanted his money and that I was reporting this as suspicious to the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police).

Long story short(er), I called the RCMP. They have a division now called Crime Busters (apparently Montreal is the CAPITAL of the world for telemarketing scams). The girl there told me to call the company itself, to see if I owed money. So that’s what I did.

The girl asks me all of my phone numbers. First present, then the last one, then the one before that. Don’t ask me how I remembered them, but I did. On the ONE BEFORE, she says, “Oh yes, you do owe us money.” Stunned, I asked, “How much?” She said, “Well with interest which has added up for 7 years, $62.” I said, “Did you send this to a collecting agent?” She said, “No, it looks like it was lost in the system”. I said, “Can you tell me where I called?” She gave me numbers for Mississauga, Toronto, Calgary and Las Vegas. I knew it sounded right. So I told her to send me a bill and I would pay, which I did.

The bitch of it is … These phone guys WERE scammers. But, as Murphy always loves to pin my ass to his laws, I got screwed anyway! LOL … They would have never found me!

PS: The RCMP aren’t really “mounted” all the time, but it makes us sound real feisty!

** I made a boo boo **

The RCMP’s division for phone-fraud is Phone Busters, not Crime Busters.

After calling the number I must vote bill collector too. Dammit.

I don’t know what US Federal law I may have violated, or what bill I have left unpaid. But I am not deported to Guatanamo in the next 24 hours I will let you know. I am hoping that I can use :wally: rather than :smack: when I post in this thread next.

CheekyMonkey613 thanks for the RCMP info.

Sidenote: Mrs. Prefect has reminded me of something that happened a couple of years ago, where we were called by someone (I forget who) regarding a person with the same name as myself who had a different address, or Social Insurance Number, and I told them that and they hung up. This may be related to that somehow. Then I can lay a :wally: :wally: and start some whoopass.

If it is a bill collector, I’d wait for them to try to get in touch with you again and then make sure you get proof of the debt in question. I wouldn’t return such a vague communication.

Can I get into trouble if I don’t return the call? Can they affect my credit rating if I don’t respond to them?

Is it me, or am I the only one who finds the phrase, “find out what Mr. Tung wants from me,” to be both disturbing and funny?

I mean, my own nickname in college was “Mr. Tung”, although I didn’t spell it that way.

Nonono- HE, as in “Mr Tung” violated US Federal Law. Not you, Master Prefect. There are various legal rules gainst mentioning legal action unless such action is actually really being contemplated or has been filed.

If it’s a bill collector, don’t worry about returning the call - he’ll surely be in touch again (and again, and again, and again, until you’re ready to strangle him). If you’ve got an account that’s been turned over to a collection agency, the damage to your credit rating has already been done, and a delay in dealing with the collection agency isn’t going to make it any worse.

If it’s a case of mistaken identity, you’ll be faced with the daunting task of getting erroneous info removed from your credit report. You can visit the websites of Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, the three primary credit reporting agencies in the U.S., for more info about how to get incorrect information removed from your record. It’s not as easy or straightforward as they make it sound - often, the bad info gets taken off, then mysteriously reappears a few weeks later, so you may have to keep beating on the credit reporting agencies for a while.