“I Will Threaten Bodily Harm,” A Loan Shark’s Confession

There’s debt collectors, and there’s loan sharks.

Doug Danger, posting on the DCC forums, specializes in collecting debt outside the statute of limitations. That is to say, debt that has expired and if you contested it in court, he would not be able to collect.

Doug proudly proclaims he is, “following after my old man who was the chief debt collector for a Jewish Loan Shark in suburban Chicago back in the good ole days.”

In plying his trade, Doug, says, “I make threats of arrest, property seizure, wage garnishment, and sometimes (usually if it’s a woman) I will threaten bodily harm if there is no payment….”


Doug hates dealing with consumers who know their rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Some of these rights include prohibitions against debt collectors making threats, using abusive language, or contacting debtors in any way after receiving written notice declaring no further contact or a refusal to pay the debt.

Get informed. Know your rights under the FDCPA. Here’s the federal statute. Read it over lunch.

Doug Danger’s post republished reposted below but be sure to check out the original thread and seven pages of replies.

THE CREAM OF THE CROP RISES TO THE TOP – Debt Collection 101 [DCC via Caveat Emptor]


Doug Danger posted:

    “I collect debts for a legitimate collection agency. My work focuses exclusively on collecting bad debt — generally either old debt that is beyond the Statute of Limitations or Unlicensed Lender Payday Debt where the number of rollovers billed to debtor exceeds the principle and legally permissible interest.

    I love my work. I am following after my old man who was the chief debt collector for a Jewish Loan Shark in suburban Chicago back in the good ole days. I feel like I am carrying the family torch. While I am not alloted as much flexibility in my methods compared to my dad since my debtors are not generally local, I will go to extreme measures to collect on debt.

    I do not believe in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. I realize that it is a law, and my company generally complies with the FDCPA in collection of legitimate debt.

    I have one motto and one gameplan that both guide my debt collecting.

    My gameplan is to be cognizant at all times of the fact that I am collecting bad debt. Therefore, I am not going to be able to collect from any one. I have to size up my competition.

    I believe that there are 3 types of debtors when it comes to collecting bad debt. The first step to deciding how to handle a phone call to the debtor is to determine which category they fall into.

    Category 1: People who realize that the debt is uncollectible because it is barred by state or federal statute. I don’t violate the FDCPA until I have sized up a debtor as NOT being in this category. That’s because these are the types who will file a complaint on me AND it’s not worth the risk because they are not going to pay anyway — they know the law is on their side.

    Category 2: People who are not aware of their rights but are hostile from the get-go with me. I try to use reverse psychology with them. And when I harass them it is always in a more subtle manner. I try to reason with them but subtly I try to humiliate them for not paying the debt. I have more luck with these people than with Category Oners, but this is still not the preferred group of people. They are also the type likely to stumble across this site. If that happens, I don’t get paid.

    Category 3: These are the people who tremble and shake and care freaked out when I call. They are the ones to go crying and just lose it. I harass the living daylights out of these people. I make threats of arrest, property seizure, wage garnishment, and sometimes (usually if it’s a woman) I will threaten bodily harm if there is no payment. Sometimes these people will stumble across this site and not pay. But I have pretty good luck with these people.

    The Motto: Don’t put off tomorrow what I can make today.

    In collecting bad debts, you have to take anything you can get. If I can get $100 up front as part of a deferred payment plan, that is still probably more than we paid for the debt.

    When you consider that the person may soon learn that this is bad debt and cancel the payment plan, at least I got the $100 up front. When someone wants a payment plan that starts anything more than 3 days out, I suggest a small amount paid today. Because even in that few days, they may learn of their rights.

    PLUS, once I have their bank account information, technically I could still debit their account even after they change their mind. I can just leave it to them to dispute with their bank.

    So, that’s really the key: GETTING SOME MONEY TODAY and getting the debtors’ bank account information TODAY.

    A final note I’d like to share is why I am here. I am here to read about the companies we do business. I am also here to find debtors that I may be dealing with. I have on occasion stumbled across a debtor who I had dealt with posting on this site. The names and situations were similar enough. Since I had been so rude to them, and you people told them I violated the FDCPA, I called back the debtor the next day under a phony name and voice, and I claimed that I had heard the phone call with the debtor and the collector was then fired on the spot. I assure them that we comply with the law.”

— BEN POPKEN

Comments

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  1. I do not believe in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

    He doesn’t “believe” in it? What, is he going to cry religious intolerance when his ass gets dragged into court?

  2. madderhatter says:

    Doug Danger … bodily harm ? If he promises to show up I’ll give him my home address.

  3. Magister says:

    I have more sympathy for the loan companies than I do for the dirtbags that default.

  4. Wow Magister. That’s UBER-Prickish. Of course people should repay their debt, but we’ve moved beyond the days of Uncle Guido busting a few knees, or even threatening to. I certainly hope you play no role in the justice system.

  5. sporesdeezeez says:

    This guy is a con artist. He almost had me believing he was just a really aggressive, enterprising debt collector…but no, he’s not. He’s not really a loan shark, either, he’s just a con artist with a creative source of scam victims. He is collecting debt which is illegal for him to attempt to collect, doing so with illegal forms of coercion, and then using an altered identity and further deception to cover his tracks.

    In desperate times I worked for about six weeks as a call center debt collector. It was soul-sapping, and I would never do it again. You have to be pretty callous to stay in work like that; you have to be a special breed of scumbag, though, to be Doug Danger. It reminds me of that Onion headline: “Asshole Father Proud of Asshole Son.”

  6. I mean yeah, why not just throw them in debtor’s prison like a good society should?

  7. lpranal says:

    Hm, praying on the frightened and helpless.

    I can’t wait to see this guy fall down. Hard.

  8. lpranal says:

    *Preying

  9. raindog says:

    I had a few situations last year where I was late on a bill due to my own seriously delinquent client. It’s a cost of doing business. They’re late on enough bills, their D&B rating drops. I’m late on one, my credit rating drops. You accept it, get smarter and move on.

    In the meantime, there’s no way to have a constructive dialogue with a creditor. They want to know when they’re going to get paid, I don’t know when I’m getting paid myself, and my experience working at banks over the last 20 years tells me that they treat non-responsive debtors better than the ones who say “I don’t have the money, and I don’t know when I will.”

    My solution to irritating debt collectors, then, is simply to not pick up the phone unless the caller is a client or a friend. (Yes, I know collectors have caller ID faking devices now. So far, knock on wood, none of them have used one on me.)

    I do pay them, meaning the original creditor (I’ve never given money to a third party claiming to represent a creditor), as soon as I’m able. If they want to get my attention before that, they can send me a registered letter. In my observation of other people’s situations, they won’t go that route until you’re so far past due that they’re going to try to get a judgment on you anyway. I’ve never been in that situation and I hope I never will.

    Regardless, I do know the FDCPA, and I think everyone should. Things happen and you can’t always recover by your credit card’s due date. And all those “payment protection plans” they offer, which effectively double or triple your interest rate, are of no value for most people who are self-employed.

  10. spanky says:

    Magister, my only direct experience with a debt collector was as a result of a mistake. It was a fairly large medical bill that I never owed in the first place.

    The debt collectors called me all the time, and didn’t have any compunctions about violating the law, ever. They screamed at me and called me names, they called late at night and early in the morning to wake me up, they threatened me and harassed my family, and they played all kinds of dirty tricks to try to get my money. Including demanding I sign and return this bizarrely worded, almost blank document that they were later filling in with consent to garnish my wages.

    I’m assuming I escape your judgment because I didn’t owe the money in the first place; but what if I had, and what about those who did? This was a bill from a hospital. For medical care. I’m sure there were plenty of decent, honest people who actually did owe the money but were unable to pay.

    Do they deserve that? Do they deserve to be harassed and threatened and defrauded? Do you seriously feel sympathy for the criminals who make their living that way?

  11. Skeptic says:

    “I have more sympathy for the loan companies than I do for the dirtbags that default.”

    A couple of things to keep in mind. Loan companies deliberately loan money to people who are bad risks because they can charge sub-prime borrowers more money. Don’t feel sorry for companies that have taken on a known risk (aggregated over groups and time) to reap enormous profits.

    Second, “Doug Danger,” the alleged debt collector, does not work for a loan company. He says he works for a collection agency. Collection agencies don’t make loans.

  12. My favorite comment from “Doug”

    Why was this thread moved to dealing with collection agencies.

    Is this guy a troll?

  13. nutsparkle says:

    “While the FDCPA generally only applies to third party debt collectors–not internal collectors for an “original creditor””

    From wikipedia.

    I worked for a first-party collection agency, and threats were made constantly. Fake threats involving the police, real threats involving the police, fake wage garnishment threats, real wage garnishment threats. Never any bodily harm though, that wouldn’t have gone over well. But threats in general? Constantly. One of the most frequent phrases I overheard was “We are not subject to FDCPA laws!”

    Consumers might know their laws, but you can bet that the people working know them too. As long as the collectors know them better than the debtors, Doug Danger will always succeed.

  14. Musician78 says:

    Damn, I hope Magister never falls on bad times. Or perhaps it would be better if he did, then he would know that a lot of people who default on a loan are not dirtbags. What an ass. Especially when it comes to health care issues. Some people just don’t have health insurance. If you don’t have health insurance and become ill, you are pretty screwed. What a dick. That has to be one of the most ignorant posts I have seen on this site.

  15. Keter says:

    Y’all missed the fact that, regardless of context, threatening bodily harm is a crime. It is called “making a terroristic threat,” and should be reported to law enforcement immediately.

  16. snowferret says:

    Shitheads like this deserve to be draged out back and beat with lead pipe till they don’t look the same. I don’t usualy say that about people, but hes taking advantage of people in real slimey way and he thinks hes in the right. He thinks hes above the law and that makes me angry. Yes I realise thats hypocritical of me because beating him up would be against the law too, ubt I wouldn’t beat him. I just think he deserves it.

  17. Xkeeper says:

    I’ve read the entire thread and the main post, and, well…

    Words fail me.

  18. Citron says:

    Threatening women because they are women and you are a man is just cowardly. Sure, it’s also all kinds of misogynistic, but really. How disgustingly cowardly.

    Men do not hit women, or threaten to. Ever. People who do that are not men.

  19. dantsea says:

    You know, Dougie’s real mouthy for someone who’s probably only separated from a prison cell until some state Attorney General with a wild hair up his ass goes on a consumer protection crusade.

  20. mistress.smarty says:

    Thank you, Musician78.

    Disclaimer: I am not a dirtbag deadbeat. I have unbelievable health issues and resulting insurmountable debt which I am trying desperately to deal with. For the last 10 years.

    My last ditch coping response to asshole collectors? “May I speak to Mistress Smarty?” “No, I’m sorry, she’s not here. May I take a message?”

    It works. I try not to resort to it. Thanks all, for letting me vent a bit.

  21. Sam Glover says:

    The best response to dealing with abusive debt collectors is to put them on hold while you look up a consumer lawyer on the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates. If you call it abuse, a court would probably call it a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which entitles you to $1,000, actual damages (including emotional distress), attorney fees, and costs.

    A consumer attorney should take an FDCPA case on contingency with little (usually just enough for the filling fee and process server) or no money up front.

    Just because you owe a debt doesn’t mean you have to put up with abusive collectors.

  22. Icon says:

    When a collection agency calls, tell them right off, the call is being recorded. Ask them their name, company, supervisors name etc.
    When they believe the call is recorded, they are so much nicer.

  23. chicagoconsumerlawyer says:

    I am a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and regularly file FDCPA lawsuits in federal court in Chicago. I am saddened that consumers didn’t investigate their rights earlier when I hear some of the horrendous stories of debt collection abuse out there. It takes only a bit of ammo to free yourself of any contact with debt collectors, unless they sue you. When it comes to attempts to collect consumer debt, you have the right to be free, among other things, of inconvenient calls at your home or place of work (or most direct communications at all, if that’s what you want), untoward or abusive language, and threats that the debt collector cannot or has no intention of following through on.

    In respone to nutsparkle, you’re wrong. If you worked for a collection agency, even if it’s ostensibly collecting in the name of the original creditor, threats of arrest or garnishment without a judgment are absolutely, unequivocally unlawful.

    FDCPA compliance is so easy, you’d think these guys would learn. But the attitudes of these collectors reflect the reality that getting tagged for debt collection abuse is simply a cost of doing business. A little knowledge on the part of consumers can drive those costs through the roof.

    ChicagoConsumerLawyer

  24. racingdodger55 says:

    I have a Daughter and Son-in-law who are Police Officers. If you ever get a call from a dick head like this guy,call the Cops. They can easily get permission to install a phone recorder and then this “mover and shaker” can explain his stupidity to the Judge.

  25. IC18 says:

    @spanky, I can relate. Back in the early 90′s my family was suffering financially due to my dad getting laid off and out of work for several months, back when the economy was somewhat staggering. Anyhow my brother had developed heart problems due to a weak heart and needed immediate surgery. Since this was literally a life and death situation my parents were not concerned with resulting costs plus the administrators promised us they would help us with payment plans since we no longer had insurance. After the surgery my brother needed to stay in the hospital several weeks for recovery. It wasn’t until the end of the month when the first wave of bills started to flow in. At first we thought we might be able to pay it off incrementally but after several months my family realized that it will be nearly impossible to pay it all off without losing the house and keeping up with other pilling bills. I think it ended up being around $40,000 for the surgery and the weeks hospital stay not including the weekly checkups and prescriptions.

    I think it was the both the loss of employment and the hospital care that caused my dad to nearly file for bankruptcy, even then years after trying to get back on track we were always harassed by collectors through mail and phone calls, using all the nasty tactics to try and get any money out of us. I think they once tried to garnish 50% of my dad’s lousy $200/week paycheck. Its situations like these that you really cant blame the debtor for not being able to pay up. Plus people like this lifeless Danger guy is not making it any easier for people trying to get their lives straightent out.

  26. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    Its amazing that collection agencies can collect anything within the FDCPA. The power of a no contact letter and the recourse to the debtor are quite effective.