If you get an email entitled LEGAL NOTICE OF ATTACHMENT OF EARNINGS that sounds very alarming…
But this may be the start of a scam and the sender wants you to panic so you will make a bad decision.
An example of a scam email
Here is one such email:
This is xxxxxx from CBL ( Collection Bailiffs Limited ). Hope you are doing well. I just would like to tell you that we have got a legal complaint against you from your creditors where you are not making the contractual payments or managing just minimum payments towards them.
So this is why these creditors have approached us in order to get the “CCJ” action against you. So that they can have the attachment of earnings with your income of £464.36 every month for these accounts with your income from this month itself, so that they can cover all the money from your side asap because as per the creditors they gave you enough chance to get the arrangements done through the government help known as an “IVA” but you refused to get that help and now they are looking to have legal action against you.
If you do not want to have any sort of legal proceedings and you are struggling with your financial situation and want to get these debts sorted, you do have “three options” left for yourself from these creditors apart from the CCJ.
If you wish to sort-out these debts. we will transfer you to our help desk team to get your finances back on track.
Hope to get a reply soon from your side.
No details of the debt
The person who got this email asked what the problem debt was.
She was then told:
According to the Data Protection Act 1998 we are not liable to share that information. Hope you understand that. But these creditors have transferred all the accounts in my department as you are falling behind or just managing the minimum payments for these debts so, they have decided to do an attachment of earnings of 464.36 from your income or benefits received by you.
A debt adviser can tell this is not from a bailiff
Here are just a few of the reasons:
- it was from a Gmail account, not a firm email;
- the idea that creditors are worried by only getting paid the minimum amounts is absurd. Creditors are happy to get paid the minimum amount – for credit cards and catalogues it means you are paying them a lot of interest;
- it’s nonsense to say that Data Protection stops a bailiff telling someone which creditor is employing them and what the debt is;
- bailiff firms do not take anyone to court – they are only used when the creditor has already been to court;
- no bailiff or creditor would suggest that an IVA is a good idea;
- there is no company with the name Collection Bailiffs Limited;
- they aren’t a firm of bailiffs/enforcement agents. (There is a firm of High Court bailiffs with a similar name, Direct Collection Bailiffs Ltd (DCBL), but this email does not come from them.)
This is a phishing expedition from a scammer.
An identical email has come “from the FCA”
This email was sent to a different person. It had the same wording, except it began:
This is xxxxxx from the FCA (Financial conduct authority).
This is again from a scammer. The FCA regulates lenders – it never contacts individuals about their debts.
It has the same number – £464.36 – as the threatened attachment of earnings. That suggests this is standard email sent out to everyone, the sender doesn’t know anything about your debts.
Other scam emails about debts
A variation on this email was supposed to be from the “Credit Investigation Department”.
‘This is xxxxxxx from the Credit Investigation Department. Hope you are doing well. I just would like to tell you that we have got a legal complaint against you from CapitalOne Ltd, 118 Money Payday Ltd, Dot Dot Payday Ltd, Vanquis Ltd, Safety Net Payday Limited, Lowell Financial Group Ltd, Moorcroft Financial Group Ltd where you are not making the contractual payments and all of them are defaulted accounts as well.’
This one actually listed some lenders and debt collectors.
Several of the legal names are wrong though. The sender seems to have taken well-known lenders and just invented a company name to go with them – for example 118 Money is a high cost lender but it doesn’t give payday loans and its corporate entity is Madison CF UK Limited.
There are no legitimate firms that will send you emails saying that several of your lenders have a legal complaint against you.
The emailer wants to be paid a referral fee
It looks as though the emails are trying to scare the victim into agreeing to an IVA. This is a form of personal insolvency in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Unlike the other two forms of personal insolvency, bankruptcy and DROs, IVAs generate large fees – £3,500 or more – for the IVA firms administering them.
These high fees mean IVAs have often been mis-sold to people who have better debt options available to them.
These fees mean IVA firms will pay large amounts to lead generators for the details of people who want an IVA. In 2021 the FCA calculated the average referral fee paid for an IVA lead to some firms regulated by the FCA was £930.
That is what the emails are for – so the scammer can be paid a referral fee.
Which IVA firms are buying these sorts of leads?
That is the important question. An IVA firm should never take a lead that has been obtained by lying.
But someone is paying money for these leads, otherwise this sort of scam would not happen.
There may be a chain here – these emails generate referrals to a lead generator who then sends your case to an IVA firm. But the problem is the same – people have been scared into thinking an IVA is their best option and the IVA firm is not properly checking the source of every referral it is sent.
The Insolvency Service needs to ban the payment of referral fees (or marketing fees or however they are dressed up) by IVA firms.
What to do if you get an email like this
You could just delete it!
This also applies to similar emails mentioning IVAs from other important-sounding senders – a government department, the Bank of England, the Financial Ombudsman etc.
The only genuine emails about your debts will come from a creditor, a debt collector or, if the debt has already been to court, a firm of bailiffs. All of these people will give details of the debt, not be vague.
Any email referring to debts vaguely, or listing a lot of lenders names should be regarded as suspicious and probably a scam.
You can check whether a firm of bailiffs is genuine by searching the list of CIVEA members and the list of HCEO members. If the name looks valid, use the contact details from those lists to get in touch with the firm – do not reply to a suspicious email or use a phone number in that email.
But if you are worried because you do have problem debts, talk to a real debt adviser. Go to a local advice service such as Citizens Advice or phone National Debtline on 0808 808 4000.