Thursday, July 7, 2016

Is Cohen & Beck A Real Law Firm?

I found this posted in a Facebook group I belong to:
BEWARE OF THE NEW SCAM!!!  I AM SHARING THIS SO THAT NO ONE GOES THROUGH ALL THE STRESS, ANXIETY, AND CONFUSION I WENT THROUGH.
This past Thursday 6/30/16, I got a call  on my cell from 872-444-2777 saying she was a from a company that tracks people down.  She wouldn't give me any information except to confirm my name and tell me to call 1-800-659-0702 with a supposed case number.  When I called, the lady identified herself as from Cohen & Beck a law firm (The Offices of Cohen & Beck, 414 West Grand Blvd. #424, Corona, Ca. 92878.  She confirmed my identity by stating(she told me, I didn't share anything)  my name (which was my maiden name), my SSN!!, DOB, and my mailing address and phone number!  She explained that I had an unpaid AT&T bill from 1999-2001 of $300+ and that it had grown to a larger amount.  They are starting a civil case in the County of Honolulu and that I could be liable for more than just that amount, it could be attorney and collection fees as well.  After asking as many questions as I could think of, I told her to send me proof.  Here are the problems with their story;
PROBLEM #1- I HAVE NEVER HAD AT&T
PROBLEM #2- I HAVE NEVER RECIEVED ANY NOTICE FROM ANYONE ABOUT AN AT&T ACCOUNT, NO MAIL OR CALL
PROBLEM #3- I SAW MY CREDIT REPORT WHEN I TOOK OUT THE MORTGAGE AND NOTHING OUTSTANDING WAS ON IT
PROBLEM #4 I RECEIVED THEIR WRITTEN DOCUMENT THAT SHE SAID WOULD SETTLE THE CASE OUTSIDE OF COURT AND IT DOESN'T LOOK LEGIT. IT SAYS (TO PUT IT SIMPLY)THAT IF I SIGN IT, I CANNOT HOLD IT AGAINST THEM IN THE CASE OF ME NOT REALIZING THE FACTS ARE NOT RIGHT. 
PROBLEM #5 THE CREDITOR IS LISTED AS THEM, NOT AT&T LIKE SHE STATED!
PROBLEM #6 I CALLED AT&T AND THEIR BILLING DEPT SEARCHED AND SEARCHED AND DID NOT FIND ANY RECORD OF ANYTHING UNDER MY INFO
PROBLEM #7 I LOOKED UP COHEN & BECK AND THE YELP REVIEWS SAY THAT THEY BELIEVE ITS A SCAM TOO!  Gotta love YELP!

The largest problem is that my husband also received a phone call from the supposed tracking people too.  Our conclusion is that someone that had access to our mortgage paperwork leaked our info.  It is the only time that all our info was together and shared with anyone!  Spooky!  We had to call the credit report companies and put a 90 day notice of possible fraudulant activity and we are not both paying a monthly fee for monitoring.  Horrible Horrible people!
 Being somewhat familiar with how debt collectors operate, this looked like a typical, aggressive company which made threatening and intimidating phone calls, with the goal of making as much money as quickly as they could. However, when the victim pointed out their side, I had a feeling that something wasn't right here.

So, I decided to look up Cohen & Beck to see what I could find. It wasn't easy. Aside from some negative reviews on Yelp, they have almost no Internet presence.

I called the California Bar Association to see if Cohen & Beck was even a real law firm. But, they couldn't help me without the name of a specific attorney, which the victims hadn't provided.

I did find the website Cohen & Beck at cohenandbeck.com but it's such a barebones website that
it wasn't helpful either. No names are provided of any of the attorneys. Just a toll-free contact number and a link to make payments.

Making little headway, I did a WhoIs search on the site and learned that it is registered anonymously. Furthermore, it was only recently created. The site came online in February 2016, which contradicts their site's claim that the firm has been around for years.

Having a strong suspicion that Cohen & Beck isn't even a real law firm, I decided to find out if they are even registered as a business, which all law firms are required to do. Finding this information wasn't difficult and I soon found the names of all law firms registered as a business in Corona,
California. To make this plain for you: as far as I can tell, the Law Office of Cohen & Beck is not registered as a business in California.

Unless Cohen & Beck can prove otherwise to me, I am convinced that this law firm does not exist and calls the victims received were part of a scam.

After looking into the legitimacy of the supposed law firm, I decided to have a look at the physical address itself, which appears to simply be a mail drop. Mail drops are commonly used by shady operations to hide their true location from people who may wish to serve them with a subpoena. But, it isn't unknown for one underhanded operation to share its address with another.

Other companies that claim the same address as Cohen & Beck likewise are involved in the legal profession in some way. Such as legal document preparation, process serving, mediation, etc. Companies using the same address include, but are not limited to:
ADR Group http://www.adrdocs.com
and Sentry ADR Services http://www.sentryadrservices.com

 Given that all of three companies use the same address and do the same kind of work, it is possible that they are run by the same people.

IMPORTANT: Unless you live in a jurisdiction where the law firm of Cohen & Beck is licensed to practice law, they would be unable to file any lawsuit against you. The debt collectors would have to contract with a law firm in the jurisdiction where you live to file any case against you.

I called the toll-free number for Cohen & Beck a few days ago and heard a voicemail recording as if I was calling a real office. I was calling after business hours, so this didn't surprise me. But, today I called both numbers and the first number (from the "investigators") is no longer in service, while Cohen & Beck is using a generic voicemail recording. In a perfect world, it would be because too many people have called "Bullshit!" on these clowns.


Duane Browning
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