Debt Collection Scams: The Bureau of Defaulters

Debt Collection Scams: The Bureau of Defaulters

If you receivde an email that says it's a court notice from the Bureau of Defaulters Agency-FTC and your arrest warrant record is attached. The email says you've ignored their efforts to contact you, so now your Social Security number is on hold by the federal government, you'll be prosecuted for fraud, and you'll owe a lot of money when you're found guilty. You've got just 24 hours to respond.

It is a scam.

First, there is no such thing as a Bureua of Defaulters. It does not exist and never has. The FTC would nevert send emails like this to people.

The typical Bureau of Defualters Scam:

 In the scam, people are sent threatening emails demanding payment for a debt that the consumer did not owe.

The scammers told the consumer that the "FTC" would file criminal charges against him if he did not pay and that his "SSN is put on hold" until he pays.

A phony arrest warrant was attached to the e-mails.

The Bureau of Defaulters Agency FTC Incorporation is not licensed by any government agency. It is also not licensed as a collection agency. Consumers should also be aware that the Federal Trade Commission does not file criminal charges against consumers who default on consumer debt.

What to do

If you get an email like this, forward it to the FTC at, then simply delete it. Do NOTclick on any attachments or links in the email. They may lead to identity theft. Scammers send convincing-looking fake emails with links or attachments they want you to click. When you do, you could download malware onto your computer.

  1. If you have already clicked on the attachment? Follow these steps to get rid of malware.
  2. You can file a compliant against a debt collector with the FTC - Use this form to submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection about a particular company or organization..
  3. Visit the FTC's Identity Theft website. Victims of phishing emails like this could become victims of identity theft, and there are steps you can take to minimize your risk.

Some email and phone numbers used by the scammers:

The scammers claim to represent the "Bureau of Defaulters Agency FTC Incorporation." At least one of them claimed to work for Coley Law Associates in Columbia, Maryland. No such law firm exists. The scammers identified so far claim that their names are

  • Chris Matthews,
  • Mike Johnson, and
  • Steven Brown.

Some of the email addresses and phone numbers they have used in the past are:

  • 205-679-3971
  • 317-268-5660
  • 410-501-5474
  • 443-938-9229

More Resources

Learn about your debt collection rights on this page.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

If you believe you may have fallen victim to an internet scam and wish to report it, please file a complaint with the U.S. government Internet Fraud Complaints Center



For a comprehensive list of national and international agencies to report scams, see this page.

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