the debt collectors have not contacted me, but served me a summon
the summons does not look official i have read about recent scam related to this issue
how can i be sure this is not a scam
The summons will be an official legal document filed in the Circuit Court directing you to appear. In addition, there will be a lawyers name and bar ID number on it along with a copy of the complaint. You certainly should be able to find the summons online for the county you live in to see if it is the official form.
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Divorce / Separation Lawyer
If you received a summons and no complaint, something is fishy. Take the summons to the clerk of the circuit court in the county where the summons was supposedly issued. If it is a fake, then report the matter to the local police or state's attorney's office.
3 lawyers agree
Consumer Protection Attorney
Have a consumer who specializes in consumer law review the summons. Most will provide a free consultation. If the summons is real, the court that supposedly issued it will have a record of the lawsuit, and you can call them or check online to see if the case exists in their system. If it is fake, you may have a claim against the offending party pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You can recover up to $1,000 in statutory damages, plus actual damages and attorneys fees under the FDCPA.
The above response is not intended to create, nor does it create either an attorney-client relationship or an ongoing duty to respond to questions. It is intended to be solely the educated opinion of the author and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Some responses may be advertising material. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the inquiring person and additional or differing facts might change the response. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the state of Illinois. Responses are answers to general legal questions and the inquiring party should consult a local attorney for specific answers and advice. Answering this question does create a duty to keep information confidential, nor does it prevent me from representing an adverse party. Advertising Materials.
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
I agree with attorney Tara Goodwin, and would add that "fake" court documents has been an unfair and deceptive practice by some debt collectors for many, many years. I thought that it had gone out of favor, but old tricks tend to circle back.