How to Spot Fake or Fraudulent Process Servers - Process Service Company, Washington DC Process Server
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How to Spot Fake or Fraudulent Process Servers

This article is for educational purposes only. Please do not contact us for information about potentially fraudulent process servers. Feel free to post your experiences to our blog. We’ll do our best to respond and inform.

Many of us are aware of the phone and email scams going around… a prince in another country needs to transfer money to your account; you have just won a free cruise and only have to pay $300 to claim it; or when someone who says they are from Microsoft calls and advises you that your computer is having problems that he can fix if you let him log on to your computer.

There are many more out there, but here is one that is near and dear to our hearts and we want to warn you about: fake process servers.

Many people are unfamiliar with the legal process and don’t know what is expected of them when confronted with a process server. This gives scammers an opportunity to take advantage of people during a scary situation.

Process servers fill an essential role in the legal service; process servers are there to notify someone of an impending lawsuit or court case in which they are named. It may be a divorce case, a lawsuit against them, or a summons to be a witness. Whatever the reason, the named individual has a constitutional right to be made aware of the pending action.

A process serve is there to serve court papers, and that is it.

Spotting a scam server

An example of a fraudulent call happens when someone says they are a process server and scheduled to come to your house the next day within a specific time-frame. The fake process server will typically ask you to pay them for the amount you owe the courts, saying that if you pay they won’t come to your home to serve papers.

Here are some telltale signs that who you are talking to is not a legitimate process server.

  • Process servers do not usually call ahead of time since this gives people time to avoid being served court papers.
  • A process server will never ask for any money. They do not collect money owed for divorce cases, child support, or any other legal reason (especially via a wire transfer).
  • If the caller has trouble pronouncing the name of your city or county, they are probably a scammer. Process servers are local and will know the names of the surrounding communities.
  • A process server does not need your social security number and will never ask for it. In fact, you should never give your SSN to anyone who calls and requests it.

What to do if you think you are receiving a scam call:

If you think you have received a call from a less than legitimate process server, keep these tips in mind.

  • Stay calm. The scammer will try to scare or agitate you – your best defense is to stay calm and not let them harass you. If the harassment gets to be too much, you can always hang up.
  • Let them know that you are not now, nor will you ever be, wiring them money. They may threaten that the ‘cops’ will be there to pick you up for nonpayment. Again, an actual process server will never ask for money.
  • Do not call the phone numbers they give you; these are scam numbers.
  • Write down any information they tell you; this way when you notify the authorities you have an arsenal of information.
  • Hang up and call the local authorities. The police want to know the latest scam that is happening in their community.

It’s unfortunate that we have to be on our guard against scammers of all types. Here is an article from AARP that is worth reading. Debt Collection Scams – AARP 

Working with the Best

At One Source Process, we are an experienced company that ensures all our process servers undergo extensive background checks and rigorous training. Apply Here if you need your court documents served in a timely and professional manner.

May 24, 2019

Comments

  1. robert freeman
    January 7, 2020 at 10:39 pm

    doesnt it take one “scam” to occur first? like not paying for goods and services in order for the other “scam” like collecting sometimes pennies on the dollar from straight out dead beats to occur?

    1. Alex
      January 10, 2020 at 11:28 am

      Hey Robert, the subject matter of this post refers to fraudulent actors who impersonate legal process servers, often providing a real company’s name (such as ours, in some cases) to scare and coerce individuals into paying them money. We have heard and have had forwarded to us, many voicemails such fraudsters leave; the case numbers don’t exist, the companies/law firms they refer their victims to are not legitimate and often just an alternate front for the same scam operation.

      This sort of fraudulent behavior and posturing only does harm to legitimate businesses, whether it be other process servers, debt collectors, etc., including real companies that may be, in fact, trying to collect “pennies on the dollar” from those who legitimately owe money.

    2. Matthew
      January 15, 2020 at 7:25 am

      hello , my mom just received a call and i think it’s a scam because it seems pretty fishy, we called them and they did not answer and we have not done anything wrong anyways. Plus, the caller we called did not even sound like a business.

      1. Alex
        January 16, 2020 at 11:04 am

        Hey Matthew,

        If that’s the case, you’ve made the correct decision! Following your instincts can go a long way in these sorts of situations. If something doesn’t quite feel right, it’s always better to take the safe route.

        1. Faye
          September 6, 2020 at 9:42 pm

          Thursday I got a phone call saying they where coming over to my house Tuesday to serve papers. I was to be home between 2:00 pm & 4:00 pm. They left a case # & a phone. # . I wrote all this an gave it to my Lawyer. Who is investigating it.

    3. LeMoura
      February 6, 2020 at 3:36 pm

      I just received a call today (2/6/2020). He said his name was Steve Roberts and to call a 833-965-2197 number to resolve the issue. He said he had some court documents that he had to deliver regarding pending charges. He said to contact the filing firm- which is the 833# provided. He never mentioned the company name, or how he can be contacted and called from a unknown number. Then said he will see me shortly and good Luck. I tried to look up the phone number but nothing came up. So IDK. It is a bit nerve racking- obviously. Help…

      1. Alex
        February 6, 2020 at 5:22 pm

        Hi LeMoura,

        As you may have read in the above article, process servers generally do not call ahead; they just show up at your door. Also, they wouldn’t give you any sort of contact information for the law firm as under proper civil procedure, all that information would be on the court papers themselves. The server is just there are an impartial 3rd party to deliver the documents.

        You are definitely dealing with a scam caller. The situation/script you described is one we hear on a regular basis and it’s definitely not a legitimate process server. Ignore them, do not give them information and report them to the authorities if you so wish.

      2. Dave
        February 11, 2020 at 9:51 am

        I got the same call from 833 965 2197
        saying the same thing

      3. Bob Hawksley
        February 13, 2020 at 11:46 am

        Just had a call from a “process server” who refereed me to a 833 area code with a 965 prefix. They threatened to serve my daughter if I did not give them her information. (Yesterday, I got a message from them.) I just told them it was inappropriate to make threats; then I asked where they were located and the mispronounced the city name. I further refused to cooperate saying there “is no way your a process server” and they hung up.

  2. Debra
    January 8, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    I believe that my husband has paid a process server to say they served papers to me when they haven’t. I have asked them to give me an audit trail of all documents they have alledgedly served in my name but they refuse. Who do I complain to if I suspect skulduggery

    1. Alex
      January 10, 2020 at 11:32 am

      Hi Debra,

      In order for any service of process to be considered valid, a proof/affidavit of service must be filed with the court which has jurisdiction over the particular case. Often times, you can request all the filed documents from a case through the clerk of that court. If you see that a fraudulent proof of service has been filed, you can usually file a motion to contest the validity of that service.

  3. Shawn
    February 7, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    I just had a women call her give no name and state my name and I’m being served papers for a complaint against me and wanted to know if some would be home to accept it then repeated it again I hung up. I’m thinking it’s a scam.

  4. Ron
    February 13, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    These people calling me and my work place every week and threaten me that they will come to work and serve the court charge , they says call the number and make an arrangement before the shows up to my work place , they can’t even pronounce or spell my work company , I was waiting with them may times but no ones shows ,, right now they using local area code phone I didn’t answer them but they try and keep calling my work place what’s the best thing to ?

    1. Alex
      February 20, 2020 at 5:32 pm

      The best thing to do would be not to call them back and not give them any information. They are simply trying to intimidate you into paying them money. As you can see, many others have had very similar calls that always follow the same script. Let your friends and family know as well so that they’re aware that any calls such as this are not legit and are simply scam attempts.

  5. Jamie
    February 17, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    I got a text message stating at 2:58p I would have a delivery of documents “reply stop to stop” then said this is an attempt to collect a debt

  6. Verge
    February 20, 2020 at 9:41 am

    I received a threatening call that I old a bank 1700 dollars of a 2009 account. I honestly do not recall that and technically that bank changed ownership to a bank i used for 20 something years. I can make a payment that day and avoid court fees, jail time for fraud or something else. By that time my heart was pumping so hard, I advised that I do not recall that situation. They sent me an email with an agreement to pay. I searched the address, the company name the names on the later could not confirm if it was legit. I called back 4x for more information, left messages never go a return call. Then yesterday, a woman with a threatening voice left a message, from Processing Service Dispatch Dept will be serving me papers if I do not contact the people handling this case.

    1. Tiffany
      February 24, 2020 at 3:08 pm

      These scammers can get down right mean! Have they followed up and served papers? I doubt they will, it sounds like someone just trying to get money from you.

  7. Ashley
    February 20, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    Hi, I received an unknown call today and this voicemail was left. Sounds a little scary but don’t know if it’s true. I do have an old payday loan but I’m not sure

    Anonymous Depositing new message Yes good morning this message is for (my name) my name is Ann Taylor. I’m a private courier in the area here and I was calling to notify you of some sealed legal documents I do need to deliver on out to you today. That does require your signature and I’m scheduled to head on over to way (she said my old exact address) today between 12:00 and 1:00 PM and I do need you to be available at that time with a valid form of ID as well as a witness to sign for the documents here. If you are not available I will have to head out twice family members residence or your place of employment and that is simply to cover all boundaries on my end I am or if you just need to reschedule the time frame you can contact the filing party yourself to do so they can be reached at 888-202-4850. You also have a case number listed here ma’am and that is 290 dash 994. Other than that I’ll be heading out and I’ll see you this Afternoon

    1. Anonymous
      March 3, 2020 at 2:18 am

      I am going through something very, very similar and I know it is a scam. It was a different number I was given, but I looked it up online and is definitely a scammer number. My 2 messages I got were a bit scary, and I got pretty shook up at first, but now I am convinced it is bogus. Though, someone did come to my home on a Saturday just after 8 pm. I pretended to not be at home. Then I got the second message today. More bs threats. Don’t give them your time, your money nor your worry. I am a worry wort, but even if I have to spend extra money to change my phone number, I will, for some peace of mind and not having to hear more damn threatening or scary messages, if it doesn’t stop soon. But the part of them showing up at my door?! Well, let’s just say, I was once armed and I just may be again, as soon as I can. Though of course, I NEVER answer a door to a knock I am not expecting nor to someone I do not know!! They never said what it was about but referenced CCS. I have no idea what that could be about so I know it isn’t legit!!!

      1. Tara Dobbs
        August 25, 2020 at 12:46 pm

        I forgot to mention they claimed to work with the courthouse from fresno county? So i called the court house asked bout all of this to see if its true the court house lady over the phone said no we would never bring up ur social or any of this you would have received a piece of mail. Stamped by the courthouse and served through mail.

  8. Carrie Nesbitt
    February 27, 2020 at 10:50 pm

    I have gotten call two days in a row from same woman and i listened carefully and it has same background at same exact time on the messages. Said it was a process server for my county. I needed to be home between certain hours, yada yada. First thing I did was go online and look up if there was some case filed against me cause I dont get in trouble and knly owe a medical bill in dispute another rip off story. I did not have any cases in any county I have lived in. Check your counties online court records search if you have doubt. If there is a case with your name on it, it will pop up. Process servers do not call first. They leave a card if they miss you and ask you to call them sometimes. Quickest route is just look up court records.

  9. Randy
    March 4, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    This is the text I received and when I called they knew all my info plus social and told me someone will be coming out to send me a summons to go to court and that I was being sued for an old loan.. This was the text…. randy duff You have a delivery that should arrive by 5:00pm on 3/4/20. It will require a signature by randy. For Info Call 833-566-0441. Use Refer 19-349431.To stop Msg reply Stop.

  10. TG
    March 5, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    Same scam, they had my name and last four of the social but could not tell me the whole number. (Since they only had the last four). They used a different numbe, 877-863-2756. “Coming today, 3-5pm with arrest papers, blah, blah, blah…

  11. Anonymous
    March 11, 2020 at 6:21 am

    Hi I received a restricted call from a process server but my sister answered my phone for me. This lady said her name was Robin left an 854 area code# and reference #. She told my sister that she would be coming to my residence or my place of employment to serve me papers the next day between 1pm-3pm. I had a bad feeling about this because I didn’t think you could tell anyone anything but the person you actually need to speak with.

  12. Ryan
    March 12, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    This sounds like a scam. I’m not sure . What do you think?

    “This message is intended for Ryan H my name is Kelly Wilson I am scheduled to levy you certified documents on Friday, March 13 at your current residence or place of appointment if you do not comply and I cannot obtain your signature then they will be sent back refusal of delivery and the process will start without you. any questions concerns or if you need to schedule a call the office directly at 806-329-3288 _⁠_⁠_⁠_ calling also _⁠_ _⁠_⁠_ file number 426272 Ryan H this is you officially you have a notified I do ask that you plan accordingly I’ll be out on Friday, March 13 thank you…”

    1. Alex
      March 19, 2020 at 1:19 pm

      This appears to correlate with the very common scammer script we have been hearing about from other visitors to our site. Feel free to check other comments on this post to compare and contrast.

    2. Chuck
      August 10, 2020 at 3:40 pm

      I just had a voicemail stating same thing. They’ll be over between 3 and 5 pm tomorrow. Then my work the next day. I would need a supervisor or security guard as witness to being served. If I don’t comply the process will continue without me, so plan accordingly.

  13. Jeromey Ryan Abbott
    March 16, 2020 at 9:39 am

    I received a call as soon as I answered there was a recording stating I needed to remain home for the 24 to 48 hours to be served legal papers.I needed to provide 2 formed of ID. Does a processes server normally call before coming out.

    1. Alex
      March 19, 2020 at 1:20 pm

      In 99% of cases, process servers do not call ahead. They will just show up at your house, knock on the door and try to catch you there. No ID is generally required, and a server cannot order you to stay at home for any period of time.

  14. Anonymous
    March 17, 2020 at 5:52 pm

    I received one call in January and today March 17, same thing. They even called my dads number with same message for me lol. 2 different court cases, I looked up and there was nothing. These people don’t even do their homework right to at least look a little legit. They say they have my name, DL, social blah blah.
    They call from unknown number.

    Numbers that they said to call:
    866-653-7654
    866-989-4099

    1. JD
      August 11, 2022 at 9:40 am

      Hello all,
      I just received a call form a man calling himself John Beck claims to work for One Source Process-
      Noted some sort of serving of papers- had my personal address ( which any one can find most people’s information online these days).

      Mentioned a cease and desist and noted to call
      the fake # 866-519-1222

      Fake Case # MA3836-33US1
      I`ve never been sued, and don’t get in that sort of trouble- the case number also does not exist on the State public records site.

      He sounded professional and Caucasian.

      1. Danny
        August 11, 2022 at 9:54 am

        Hello,

        I would most definitely ignore them. Our server’s are trained to be discreet. Notifying a servee that they are soon to be served defeats the purpose of our service.

        Best of luck!

        Danny

  15. Kimberly
    April 29, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    Well I just got this call today 4/28/2020 they called my relatives as well… Even during a pandemic they scamming….. Be smart people don’t give up your stimulus check people!!!

    1. Danny
      May 4, 2020 at 9:03 am

      Thank you for letting us know!

  16. Jen
    August 11, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    I received a call today (did not answer and showed up as restricted)from someone claiming to be a Process Server from my County. They told me to call a 888# and get a hold of this Lawyer James Harris. They said they tried delivering documents to my address on file but they haven’t been able to(also gave me a document # to reference when i called back)-which makes zero sense cause my address is updated with the county-and he said the counties name in the message. I didn’t call back. They also ended up calling my Husbands Parents looking for me. So strange.

  17. Beverly
    August 24, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    Received a call from 833-480-0526 they left a message said their name was Jason and wanted to know the where abouts and location of my daughter. They had a slight foreign accent. I am not returning the call. It was creepy. Who in the hell is going to tell some creepy ass guy on the phone where their daughters is? I mean Really?!?!?!? WTH?

  18. Mona
    August 27, 2020 at 8:48 pm

    My brother and sister received a call from someone saying they were going to come home on August 31st to serve me. My brother said the guy became angry & started cursing. The case number he provided belonged to three other people. Sorry, I called the number (but I blocked mine) before I read this article. I left a mesage & said I will meet them at the police station.

  19. Lbm
    August 29, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    I just had someone knock on my door but only gave me a couple seconds to get to the door and quickly left. I checked my security cams and noticed she left a door hanger referring me whoknocked.com to retrieve on a file number. I’ve never been served but this seems weird. Website looks legit but I’m nervous about interacting. Is this a new way of serving?

  20. Mark
    November 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Call today from “process sever” for washoe county (they pronounced it like wa”shoo” instead of wa”show” like its supposed to be. First thing that I noticed. Said documents were for some reason returned to them from the address they had on file for me and to call the attorney’s office handling my case to avoid any further legal action. Had a pretty non Nigerian sounding accent up to that point she mispronounced the county. So I just searched it and found this page. Thanks for the info.

  21. Hamilton
    November 11, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    Just got a similar call. A guy with a deep southern accent. Said he’s a private courier in my sores and needed to serve me documents that returned vis usps. He needs me to be home between 2-4 tomorrow. And if not he’s going to my job and/or contacting family and friends. He mentioned a ref number but didn’t leave the number. He also started I should call the number listed to reschedule.

    The only address I have is a P.O. Box, and I don’t even have a job.😂

    I didn’t call the number back, but I was pretty spooked at first. Glad I found this page.

  22. SAHIL
    November 11, 2020 at 10:38 pm

    Received a text from 855-556-8292 stating “Document Delivery Nov 13, 2020 ETA 11a.m-5pm For “my name redacted”. Call Now: 866-487-7132 with a reference #. Reply P3Dq Stop to Optout. Like a dumba$$ I called to find out what it was. They told me they needed to deliver a demand letter for a personal cash advance in the amount of $1700+ (of which I never have had- do they even give cash advances for that amount?). They knew my address and birthdate! I told them I’d be waiting to receive the notice. That was it. Not sure if they were trying to put my phone number together with my address and birthdate to do something with it but they didn’t ask me to pay anything either. I guess I’ll wait to receive my document!

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