Common Tactics and Dirty Tricks

TCPA Predator Tactics

Here are just a few of the common tactics and dirty tricks that professional plaintiffs and class action attorneys employ in order to  cash in on the TCPA.

How It Works

Plaintiff maintains multiple prepaid cell phone numbers to receive calls intended for the person to whom a number was previously registered.

  • Best For: Debt collection calls.
  • Strategy: Choose numbers with the area codes of economically depressed regions.
  • Pros: Not technically fraud; Defendants with deep pockets
  • Cons: Multiple accounts can be expensive; Results are not guaranteed; Delayed payout

How it Works  

A highly effective method in drawing calls, call baiting involves completing website contact forms with a correct phone number but a fake name (or the name of an accomplice).  Plaintiffs often choose forms lacking compliant opt-in language.

  • Best For: Marketing calls.
  • Common Strategies: Use a VPN to mask IP addresses; Have an accomplice complete the form; Seek out forms without compliant opt-in language.
  • Pros: Very effective in drawing calls.
  • Cons: If consent is raised as a defense, Plaintiff must commit perjury to save his case.

How it Works

Plaintiffs collect multiple calls before threatening legal action in order to maximize their damage claim.  With a 4 year statute of limitations, many companies find themselves attempting to defend calls or texts they made years before, even some that were never answered.

Common Strategies:

  • Always be receptive on all calls
  • Cut calls off without consenting to a callback
  • Let many calls go to voice mail
  • If the caller was trying to reach someone else, never tell them they dialed the wrong number
  • Wait at least two years before filing suit

How it Works

A version of call baiting, inbound seeding occurs when a company obtains consent to call a particular number.  When the number is called, instead of answering, the plaintiff calls back from another phone, speaks to an agent, and then cuts the call short.  The agent calls back the second number without first obtaining consent.

Best For:  Marketing Calls

Common Strategies:  Share the Caller ID with friends and attorney partners so they can file their own claim (AKA, “Spreading the Wealth”).

How it Works

The corporate veil is a legal concept that protects corporate officers, directors, and shareholders from personal liability for the debts and other obligations of a corporate entity.  To apply additional pressure to secure a quick settlement, plaintiffs often ignore the corporate veil and include individual officers, directors, and company owners as defendants.

How it Works

After filing in small claims court, Plaintiff does not serve the lawsuit on the defendant and files a false proof of service with the Court.  Plaintiff is granted a default judgment after the defendant fails to appear at the trial.   Plaintiff then follows up with an ambush levy, forcing the defendant to write a check.

How it Works

A method of collecting on a default judgment without knowing where the defendant actually banks, made possible through the gradual consolidation of the banking industry.  After receiving a default judgment, the Plaintiff files and serves a writ of Execution for each major national bank at its central levy location.    If the defendant has an account at one of the banks, it places a hold on the money.   The defendant then has a few days to file a Motion to Vacate with the original court before the bank releases the money to the plaintiff.   If the motion is filed, banks will hold the money until the court actually vacates the judgment, which could take months if not longer.

Common strategy:  Serve the Writ on the 14th or 15th of the month.  Many paydays fall on the 15th, and if the defendant is  unable to make payroll, they will be more prone to settle.

How it Works

Attorney files a class action lawsuit against a small marketing company or call center, and hits them with aggressive discovery demands in order to learn the identities of the company’s customers so they can be added to the lawsuit.

Common strategy:  Refuse to settle unless the entire customer list is produced.

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