Debt collectors resorting to scams to scare victims

PETALING JAYA: To recover old debts, unscrupulous debt-collectors are turning to a new tactic of instilling fear in loan defaulters by issuing fake court letters and slandering them in social media sites such as Facebook.

theSun learnt of this following a letter supposedly from a debt collection company here that went viral on social media.

The letter addressed to a woman in Kota Kinabalu had stated that a warrant of arrest had been issued against her and will be served to her for failing to meet the demands of the company's client and attend court.

Numerous attempts by theSun to contact two telephone numbers stated in the letter for clarification was futile as it went unanswered.

K.A.Ramu, a senior lawyer who was shown the letter, was of the opinion that the document was unauthentic and had no legality.

He said any such notice should come from a law firm and those who receive such letters should carry out checks for the existence of such a company and also with the Bar Council before reporting the matter to the relevant authorities.

He said they may also check with the courts to verify if the notice is fake.

MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong who also looked at the letter and consulted his panel of lawyers said it was a scam.

He said to obtain an arrest warrant and execute it over a civil matter is a long process and not a simple procedure.

He said crooked debt-collectors often come up with a new ruse in recovering bad debts.

Chong said the latest tactic was defaming and slandering defaulters and their family members in the social media.

"I refer to the family members as victims because they are innocent parties dragged into the mess caused by the defaulters. Of late, I have received cases of these innocent victims being blackmailed, slandered and defamed in Facebook to force the defaulters to pay up. Those who are facing such situations should lodge a police report for criminal defamation." he told theSun.

He said there are also certain banks that have hired unscrupulous debt collection company which use such tactics.

"I have named these banks to those who come to seek help at our bureau. As a department that renders public service, it is only right I do so for the benefit of the public. If the banks are not happy with it, they can sue me. My priority is to assist the innocent victims." he said.