Coping with debt collectors is difficult… dealing with fake debt collectors is even worse and all too common.
While businesses often do hire third-party debt collectors to pursue past due accounts, there are scammers who pose as collection agents to trick you into paying money for debts that have been paid or canceled or that don’t even exist.
Here are some clues to recognize a debt collection scam:
  • The collection isn’t on your credit report 
  • The debt collector asks you to pay via wire transfer or another untraceable method
  • You don’t recognize the creditor or the account 
  • You can’t find anything on the internet when you search by their phone number 
  • They threaten you with jail time or pose as a government official
  • They won’t give you their company’s contact information
To help you separate the scammers from legitimate collectors, always start with these questions:

What is the name and address of the debtor you’re trying to reach? If you are provided the wrong information or incomplete information, do not correct them. Instead, tell them to send you the validation notice (a letter that is required to be sent within 5 days of first contacting you) to the address they have on file, explaining that you will respond accordingly once the letter is received. Then hang up.

What is the name, address, and phone number of the company you’re calling from? Even if a caller gives you an answer, never discuss debts over the phone. Ask them to send you the validation notice and again, let them know you will respond once the letter is received.

What are the last four digits of the debtor’s Social Security number? This is somewhat of a trick question, as a legitimate debt collector will never answer this question. If they do, they are violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA. Even if they have your SSN, never confirm or deny the information.

Remember, don’t be intimidated even if collectors attempt to scare you into paying, threaten to have you arrested, or pose as a government official. These are all violations of the FDCPA and a clear indication the collector is not legitimate.
If you believe a fake collector is calling, hang up. You don’t need to speak with them regardless of what they say or how often they call. If the debt is legitimate, it does not mean the person calling is entitled to collect the debt. Again, wait for the letter.
If you have questions, need help with debt settlement and want to stop the harassing phone calls, give THD Credit Consulting a call today.
-Erik
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