On May 21, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that its “Messaging for Money” enforcement campaign resulted in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York issuing a temporary restraining order against a debt collector who allegedly sent misleading text messages trying to trick consumers into telephoning the company. The FTC’s complaint, filed on May 11, alleged that the company violated Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by falsely threatening arrest if consumers failed to make payments, contacting consumers’ family members, and failing to provide required debt-collection notices. The complaint also alleged that the company tricked consumers into contacting the company through text messages suggesting that payments had been declined. The court’s temporary restraining order prohibited further misrepresentations and illegal debt-collection activities, froze the company’s assets, and gave the FTC immediate access to all of the company’s property and records.
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