5. The Shakedown Industry

Sharing a table in the break room with other trainees, the talk turns to our experiences in the collections world. Arnold, a sharply dressed guy who favors two-tone shirts, tells us what it was like to work at one of the supposed legal firms that dot the suburban office parks around the region. This was a collection office that used the name of a law firm, but Arnold never saw a lawyer in the building. The office focused on collecting bounced checks—“NSF” in collector-speak—obtained by a debt buyer who ran the operation behind the scenes. The collectors worked from a script that made it sound like their “law office” had already drawn up court papers, which they were itching to file. “They’ll get the name of the county ...

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