August 18, 2009
St. Louis, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster today filed suit against two debt collection companies that are operating scams to collect debts from citizens who do not owe the money.
Koster filed law suits in St. Louis against Portfolio Recovery Associates, a public company based in Virginia, and Professional Debt Management located in Kansas City.
Koster said Portfolio buys old and bankruptcy-discharged debt, often from another bad debt buyer, and then tries to collect, sometimes through court action. He said the company often is attempting to collect on accounts that are already paid or have been discharged in bankruptcy; sometimes they try to collect from the wrong consumer or for the wrong amounts. He said the company has threatened to garnish consumers' social security checks, which they have no authority to do, and has refused to provide consumers with proof that the debt is valid.
Koster said Professional Debt Management uses scare tactics, leaving messages on consumers' phones that there is an emergency. He said that like Portfolio, they attempt to collect on accounts already paid or from the wrong party.
"The Attorney General's office intends to take aggressive action to protect Missouri consumers," Koster said. "I am asking the court to issue a permanent injunction prohibiting these companies from violating consumer protection laws and to order that they provide full restitution to the people they have harmed."
Koster also is asking that the court impose monetary penalties and require the companies to pay all court costs.