Process servers are an important facet of America’s legal system, but unscrupulous individuals try to use it to defraud people too often. Improper and fraudulent process service has resulted in tens of thousands of default judgments in New York alone. The state has been leading the battle against fraudulent service of process for decades.
Here’s how you can determine whether someone serving you legal papers is a fraud or not.
They are Asking for Payment
As the recipient of the legal documents, you are under no obligation to pay the process server anything. That burden falls on the lawyer, business, or individual who hired the process server. Should someone claiming to be a process server ask you for any form of payment, it’s highly advisable to call law enforcement and report the incident.
They are Asking for Sensitive Data
A real process server may ask you for identification to confirm that you are the person they’re looking for. But real process servers won’t ask you for sensitive data, such as financial information, credit card credentials, or social security numbers. An individual claiming to be a New York process server who asks for these kinds of information could be trying to steal your money or even your identity. If you encounter such a person, decline the offer.
The Person is Threatening You
Process servers in New York, and throughout the country for that matter, are not allowed to threaten you in any way, whether through legal intimidation or physical threats. Their job is to serve legal documents, nothing more or less. This also means they cannot issue arrest warrants. That power lies in a marshal or another official authority. A “process server” bullying you with legal or physical threats could be a criminal trying to extort money from you. You should report the incident to law enforcement as soon as possible.
You Know the Person Serving the Papers
According to the New York legislature, a process server must not be one of the parties involved in the case. Any individual or business that plans on suing you must present the court papers through a third party or else they cannot claim that these papers were legally served. If someone who you’re in a legal struggle with tries to present you with court papers, they must have a judge’s approval to do so.
They are Vague on Details
If you are still unsure of the process server’s integrity, get details about the document they’re serving. Is it a summons? A subpoena? A complaint? Ask them for details you can verify, like which courthouse was the lawsuit filed or the case number. With a case number and a location, you can ask a county clerk or dig through public records to determine if the so-called case is real.
They Cannot Present a License
Finally, ask them for their license number or proof of registration. New York requires process servers to have licenses.
If a so-called process server cannot present a license, the right information, or presents any suspicious behavior, remain calm. Do not give in to their threats and collect as much information as you can about them. Then, contact law enforcement to report the incident.
All Americans are entitled to due process. And our experienced team adheres to that process.
Process Servers You Can Trust in New York
Serve Index LLC is a reliable process server agency, helping legal professionals and some of New York’s largest law firms. Our success is built on providing comprehensive law support such as same-day service of process, court filing, skip tracing, and document retrieval.
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