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How Do I Know if a Process Server is Legitimate?
Going to court is a very serious matter. So, when a process server arrives at your home or workplace to serve you papers, it can be disconcerting, especially if you can’t think of why you are being served.
Is there a way to find out if the process server is legitimate?
Sadly, there have been incidents where people posed as process servers to commit fraud or extortion. It is one reason some people prefer not to answer the door or avoid the process server entirely.
But there is a proper way to determine if the person serving you papers is legitimate. This guide outlines how to do so.
The Process Server Provides Identification
Legitimate process servers provide proper identification before they serve legal papers. Many states do not require licenses for process servers, but they still carry a form of identification when they deliver documents.
If they do not provide any kind of identification or refuse to give their names, it is a good sign that they are not legitimate.
The Process Server Is Not Known to You
Many states require that the process server not be known to either party in a lawsuit. So, if a neighbor, former employer, or friend shows up at your door serving you papers, you can refuse to accept them. This is not considered a proper legal service in most jurisdictions.
They Do Not Ask for Sensitive Information
Process servers must only ask for your name before handing over legal papers. They do not require sensitive information, such as credit or debit card numbers, social security details, or even your legal or financial history.
If a person claiming to be a process server asks for this type of information, it is almost certainly a scam. Do not answer their questions and instead call law enforcement or a regulatory body in your area to report them.
They Cite a Case Number and Court Details
Once the process server identifies themselves, they will provide specific information about the case before serving the papers. They should tell you the case number, the parties to the case, and the official title of the lawsuit.
You can also ask to verify the documents and ask for other pertinent information related to the case filing.
They Do Not Ask for Money
A legitimate process server will not ask for money from the person being served. They have been hired by the court or one of the parties in a case to provide this service; their compensation will not come from the person receiving the documents.
If they ask for a delivery or processing fee, they are likely not legitimate process servers. Refuse to accept the documents and contact law enforcement immediately.
They Do Not Threaten the People Being Served
If you think the process server is suspicious and refuse to open the door or even acknowledge them, do they threaten you by saying they will report you to the police?
Process servers provide a legal service and do not need to threaten people into accepting a legal document. If a process server does this, contact law enforcement immediately.
Before accepting anything from a person claiming to be a process server, you must determine their legitimacy. These professionals are partners of the court, and they perform a critical service to the justice system.
If you have reason to believe that someone is trying to scam you, alert authorities immediately.
Burke, Jayson, 2018 Oct 28, Know the Rules: What Is a Process Server Allowed to Do?, drlegalprocess.com, https://drlegalprocess.com/know-the-rules-what-is-a-process-server-allowed-to-do/
Service of Court Papers, courts.ca.gov, https://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-serving.htm?rdeLocaleAttr=en
The foregoing podcast has simply been presented for informational purposes only. He or those at Lafayette Process Servers LLC, are not attorneys. Process serving laws and rules of civil procedure are different from state to state. If you seek further information about this topic, please make sure to contact an attorney in your local area
Browne, Clayton, Job Functions of a Process Server, work.chron.com, https://work.chron.com/much-money-can-private-process-servers-earn-20599.html
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