7 Ways to Tell Whether That “Process Server” at Your Door Is Legit

Having a process server show up at your door can be confusing and nerve-racking, especially if you have no idea why they are there. 

Do you have to answer the door? Are you required to take whatever they’re holding out to you? Are you sure they’re actually a process server?

Unfortunately, many communities have seen a rise in people posing as process servers to make money or frighten people. At times, it can be difficult to tell the real process servers from the fake ones, and making the wrong choice can mean you get yourself in trouble.

Here are 7 ways to tell whether that “process server” that knocked on your door is legit:

Do They Ask for Money?

A real process server will not ask you for money.

They are paid by the people for whom they are serving the papers, and should never ask the recipient of the papers for money. 

If you are asked to pay a “processing fee,” “delivery fee,” or otherwise give money to someone who says they’re a process server, refuse service and contact law enforcement. 

Do You Know the Person at Your Door?

Many states require that the person serving papers in a lawsuit or case not be a party to the case.

If your former employer shows up at your door with a “lawsuit,” for example, this is not considered legal service in most jurisdictions and you can refuse it.

However, some states do allow the person serving papers to be a party to the case in certain situations, so check your local laws and regulations for confirmation.

Is the Process Server under 18?

Most states require that someone serving papers must be at least 18 years old. A scammer may try to use a child or teen to make you more likely to open the door, so be aware of your local regulations in case this happens to you.

Does the Process Server Threaten You?

If you don’t open the door, don’t take the papers offered to you, or otherwise question the process server, do they threaten to call the police on you or say you’ll otherwise be penalized? Do you feel intimidated or scared by the person who knocked on your door?

Process servers should be polite to the people to whom they’re serving papers, and should never bully, threaten, or intimidate them. 

A legitimate process server who has been properly trained will not threaten or bully the person they’re trying to serve.

Does the Process Server Ask for Sensitive Information?

To help verify that they have the right person, real process servers often ask for basic identifying information – such as your name – before handing over the papers.

However, if the person standing on your doorstep asks for your Social Security number or credit or debit card information, they are not a legitimate process server. They may be trying to steal your money or your identity using information they collect from you.

If someone shows up at your door asking for this type of sensitive information, contact law enforcement or a regulatory agency such as the Federal Trade Commission.

Do They Identify Themselves?

Even if licensing isn’t required in a specific state, many process servers carry identification with them to help put people wary of scams at ease.

If you ask your process server for their identification and they refuse or can’t produce any, or the process serving “agency” they tell you they’re from sounds fake, they may not really be a process server.

Can They Produce a Case Number or Court Information?

When a process server comes to your door and you suspect they may be a scammer, you can ask for the case number or the courthouse the case is filed in and verify the validity of the documents.

If they don’t have a case number or the case cannot be found at the courthouse they told you, they may not be an actual process server. 

Trustworthy, Efficient Process Serving Nationwide

At Torri’s Legal Services, we understand that process serving can be a delicate business. All of our process servers are well-trained and held to the highest standards of professional, ethical conduct. We can serve your Subpoenas, Summonses, and other court documents nationwide – and even internationally – quickly and correctly so you can focus on what’s most important – Building the best possible case. Get a quote today!

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