This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)
You have just been served with a court summons. As soon as you first realized what you were holding in your hand, you may have been overwhelmed with emotions – including anxiety, worry and confusion. However, as you take a closer look and study the details of the legal document in your hand, even more questions and doubts may emerge.
How do you know if this is an official court summons or just a fraudulent decoy? Debt collectors seem to threaten consumers with court appearances and alleged charges.
One of the quickest ways that you can verify the legitimacy of an issued court summons is to visit the court directly. Keep in mind that every single court summons is processed and filed through the actual court. Since fake summons never make their way to the growing collection of paperwork delivered to the court, then it makes sense why checking with the court is one of the most efficient options available.
All you must do is provide the court clerk with the name of the parties listed as well as the docket number printed on the document. All court summonses are managed and modified based on their docket number. Therefore, if the court clerk is not able to retrieve anything under the docket number that you were provided, this should serve as a major indicator of fraudulence. In addition to the docket number, the court clerk will also verify other pertinent details included within the standard summons – including the date it was issued and the enforced deadline for responses.
Long before you make the trip to the court to speak with a court clerk directly, you can check the court summons to see if there is a dated signature from the clerk printed on the actual summons. A quick Google search for your local courthouse website will help you to identify the name of your court clerk.
All you need to do then is to find the summons expiration date and docket number since that is typically where the clerk’s signature is located as well. In addition to the signature, the contact information for the court should also be listed. You may want to double check the contact information listed with the official contact information for the court. If there is any discrepancy there, then you may have bene dealing with one of the debt collectors using fake summons to scare consumers.
You should also search for authentic signatures from other specific parties and professionals involved with the filing process of this type of paperwork – including the signature of an attorney. If the plaintiff has already decided to represent himself or herself in this case, then you will see his or her signature on the summons instead of an attorney.
Another important step is to analyze the language used within the actual summons to verify its legitimacy. Debt collectors using fake summons to entrap their consumers will typically issue fake summonses with limited legal language or terminology (if any at all). To verify legitimacy within a court summons, look for any type of confirmation of pending actions that exist between the various parties involved. The verbiage may even identify specific actions that already exist.
Here are several specific examples that you should look for as you closely examine the wording of the court summons:
If you are eager to find out everything that you can about the court summons, then you should consider consulting with an expert attorney that specializes in such matters. It is true that a court clerk can tell you if a court summons is or is not in their system. However, he or she would not be able to dig very much further than that on your behalf. This is primarily due to the overwhelming number of other cases on their docket that they must focus on throughout the day. There is no way that the average court clerk can provide anyone with extensive one-on-one assistance with a specific case or allegation.
On the other hand, an expert attorney can provide you with his or her undivided attention to get to the bottom of the issue in a timely fashion. Once you have retained the attorney as your legal representative, you may start to notice that the overall process moves a lot quicker as well – especially if it was an authentic document and not just another fraudulent case of some debt collectors using fake summons.
It may seem as if debt collectors have the “power” when it comes to how they handle issues related to your account. When they start to make threats about legal action, garnishments, judgments and repossessions, this tactic may quickly scare you into submitting to whatever terms they specify. However, it is imperative that you take the time to investigate any form of legal correspondence that is sent to your home or hand-delivered. Debt collectors using fake summons to threaten and lure their customers in like baited fish do not have to hook you and add you to their list of helpless victims.
Pay close attention to the wording, language and overall format of the court summons to verify its authenticity. Do not hesitate to pay the local court clerk a visit to inquire with him or her directly. If you want to take the most efficient path to getting all your questions answered – including which of the debt collectors using fake summonses was the one that victimized you – then it is highly recommended for you to seek legal counsel right away.
One of the most frightening prospects of bankruptcy for many people isn’t what stands to be gained - as in… Read More
Twenty years from the formal date of entry of the judgment against you, your outstanding debt is still actionable from… Read More
In the state of Florida, the private student loan statute of limitations is typically five years. Read More
When weighing two vastly different approaches like chapter 13 bankruptcy vs. debt consolidation, staying focused on your individual goals is… Read More