Anatomy of a Scam

577578-phone-scamsThis morning I received a call from a restricted number. I do not answer calls from people I do not know. I let it go to voicemail. A few minutes later I checked it.

“This is an urgent message for Mr. Cameron. My name is Valerie. I’m calling you in reference to a complaint that has been forwarded to my office. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the pending actions that may be filed against you, you’ll need to contact the firm immediately at 855-899-0269 and the file number you’ll need in reference is *****. This does require immediate attention and it’s important we speak with you or we will be forced to make a decision without your consent. “

I called the number back. A guy calling himself Logan Baker answered. I gave him the reference number. He said the last four of my social security number and asked if that was correct. It was and I told him so. He said that I had an outstanding balance of $1197.92 from an Emergency Room visit at Tacoma General Hospital in November of 2012. I’ve had some health problems over the years and I had no idea if I was in the ER in November of 2012 or not. It seemed likely though.

He said that since they were suing me the account was not on my credit report. He said that they were willing to drop the lawsuit for a settlement of $521 and that said settlement offer had been sent to me via mail 45 days ago. I told him I did not receive any such documentation. He confirmed my home address. I told him I did not get any documentation whatsoever for him.

He also told me that there I would soon be served paperwork by a process server and that once that happens they would be unable to offer me the settlement of $521. He suggested if I want to pay that amount I should duck the process server until I pay them. He claimed that he could not stop said process server from serving papers, but then a few minutes later said he could ‘hold the account’ for five hours if I needed time to get the money together. I told him to go ahead and do that and told him I’d get back to him.

I thought about the information they had given me. They accurately knew that I had been to Tacoma General Hospital. They accurately knew the last four of my social security number, my phone number, and my home address. But that’s literally all the information they had. It wasn’t enough to convince me that they were who they said they were, but they might be.

I then talked with a friend who knows about this stuff. He gave me some advice. I looked in all of my paperwork and eventually figured out that I was likely not in the Emergency Room in November of 2012 as that was before most of my health issues. I called Multicare and asked them if they knew anything about this lawsuit. They said that they send all delinquent accounts to the same collection agency and that they had no information on any lawsuit. I contacted the collection agency. They said they had exactly one thing in my name and that thing was from 2014 and was being disputed.

At this point it was fairly clear to me that I was not being sued. I was being scammed. So I called Logan back. I asked him for his firm’s name and address. He gave it to me:

Stallings & Associates
1430 Truxton Ave. 5th Floor
Bakersfield, CA 93301

I thanked him for the information and told him I would get back to him.

I did a little digging. I found their website. https://www.stallingsandassociatesllc.com It is the most bare bones, anonymous law firm website I have ever seen. I have seen websites for fictional lawyers that had more presence. This is a website called Stallings and Associates in which they do not mention who the hell ‘Stallings’ is. In fact not one human being is mentioned. Instead it has the improbably sentence: “Our Knowledgeable Staff is a leader in its field, with significant experience and expertise in resolving complex financial or commercial disputes.”

I then did a little more digging. It turns out that the fifth floor of 1430 Truxton Ave. is run by a company called Pacific Workplaces. These guys provide office space and work space for companies and individuals who need it. I figured Pacific Workplaces is on the up and up. So I contacted them and let them know that ‘Stallings & Associates’ are scam artists and that maybe they should rethink allowing them to use space.

So instead of getting $500 from me, Logan and his friends may be getting an eviction notice.

– Jack Cameron

UPDATE: I just received the following email from Pacific Workplaces:

Mr. Cameron:

Thanks for taking the time to sharing your information with us.

As happens we have instructed the 3rd party that provided us this client that we would like to part ways.

UPDATE 2: Since posting this article, I’ve received emails, Facebook messages, and comments about how these guys are still at it. If they contact you, see if you can get their mailing address from them and any other identifying information and leave it in the comments section. Thanks.

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4 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Scam

  1. They called us implying that we were the ex wife, using the same dialogue. Husband has been divorced since 1995.
    I called their return number and asked if they were debt collectors. After much hee hawing , the fellow on the phone said they are a legal office collecting debt. It appears to be the same address of Rodriguez Law, APC. How involved is this scam??
    I intend to file a complaint with Att. Generals Office and will likely terminate our land line.
    Their current address is in Calabasas Ca.

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