No. A debt collector is not a police officer. A debt collector cannot initiate a criminal prosecution. Furthermore, the police will not even take a crime report because it is not a crime to fail to pay a debt.
This entity violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and California laws, by threatening to start criminal proceedings. Also, by calling your grandmother. And by scaring her, to try to get her to give them access to her bank account. You have grounds to file a lawsuit against UPLD, to recover damages and to recover attorney's fees.
I have no idea who these folks are but, if they indicated they essentially had the power to get you in jail over a civil debt, they broke the law. Further, if they called your Grandmother ONLY because they were looking for you and could not otherwise find you, they also violated the law. Both of these are unfair debt collection violations. It's always best to have this in writing but, a credible witness like one would hope your Grandmother is, could get you some statutory damages ($100.00 to $1,000.00) for each violation or here, 200 to 2,000 AND get your atty paid for. If you wish a further in depth consultation feel free to get in touch with my office as we handle these matters statewide.
No person may be caused an annoyance by a debt collector to collect a consumer debt, such as a payday loan, medical bill, or personal credit card. These annoying calls to you violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and probably also the Cal. Rosenthal FDCPA, each of which would allow your actual damages for the harassment, up to $1000 in statutory damages, your attorney's fees and court costs. Be sure to keep accurate and detailed records of those calls, which will help you and your lawyer present your case to the court and also keep track of how this makes you feel. Threats of jail are illegal to collect a debt. I have not heard of this agency, so that is a misrepresentation that also violates the FDCPA.
Also, these calls violate the FDCPA section to not have a debt collector disclose the consumer's financial problems to third parties. The debt collector with each of these calls violated your rights to not be harassed and embarrassed by disclosures to other people.
You should contact an experienced consumer attorney and see the link, below, to my web site and obtain the free call log to help you document those collection calls. Please be aware of the one year statute of limitations. Do not sit back and allow these calls to go unchecked. Who knows if they might get even worse! I don't recommend calling this company back, the illegal harassment will probably be very severe and you should not pay a company that does this.
Robert Stempler (please see DISCLAIMER below)
NOTICE: The above statements are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended as legal advice or advice of any sort for a specific case or legal matter. If you do not have a signed attorney-client fee agreement with the Consumer Law Office of Robert Stempler, APC ("the Firm"), then until such written fee agreement is provided and signed by both a prospective client and attorney for a particular case, neither Mr. Stempler nor the Firm will represent you nor will they be your attorney in any matter and you remain responsible for retaining your own attorney and for compliance with any and all deadlines and for any statutes of limitations that may pertain to potential claims. Comments made on a public forum, such as Avvo.com, to not have any confidentiality because others may read them. If you desire a private consultation with Mr. Stempler that is confidential, please go to www.StopCollectionLawsuits.com and submit a free eCase Review. The result portrayed for a client was dependent on the facts of that case. Results will differ if based on different facts. The Firm and Mr. Stempler are a debt relief agency. The Firm and Mr. Stempler help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.