Debt Collection Scams
Debt collection scams are on the rise, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers to be on the lookout for these schemes. There are a few debt collection scams making the rounds, but one of the most common is when scammers pose as a debt collector in an attempt to collect on a debt that the consumer does not actually owe. These scammers will often use threats and intimidation tactics to try to get the consumer to pay up, and they may even threaten legal action if the debt is not paid.
Warning Signals in Debt Collection
The BBB has received numerous reports of debt collection scams, and they are urging consumers to be aware of the signs that a debt collector may be a scammer. One red flag is if the debt collector refuses to give you information about the debt or the company they are representing. Another is if the debt collector demands that you pay the debt immediately, in full, and in cash. And finally, if the debt collector threatens to have you arrested or to sue you if you do not pay the debt, this is a definite sign that it is a scam.
The BBB told WNCT News that if a debt collector calls, you should ask for a validation notice. That notice should include the amount of debt, the name of the creditor and a statement of your rights.
“These debt collectors are actually required by law to put that in writing and if the self-proclaimed debt collectors won’t provide that information, we recommend that you hang up or just cease contact with them,”
-Nick Hill, Communications Specialist with the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina.
How To Protect Yourself From Debt Collection Scams
Consumers have rights when it comes to debt collection and debt collectors. These rights are laid out in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA is a federal law that prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices when collecting a debt. Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are also required to send consumers a written notice of the debt within five days of their first contact.
Deceptive Collection Tactics
Scammers often use sophisticated tactics to make it look like they are legitimate debt collectors. They may use a fake company name or logo, or they may even pose as an attorney. The best way to protect yourself from debt collection scams is to avoid these unusual collection attempts and deceptive methods.
Follow These Expert Tips.
First, do not give a debt collector any personal information, such as your Social Security number or bank account information. A scammer may already have a portion of this information, but do not verify or be pushed into furnishing anything additional. Second, ask for a validation notice, as mentioned above. Legitimate debt collectors also have to provide you with information about how to dispute the debt. This is important, because if you do not believe that you owe the debt, you should not pay it.
Andy Spears is a consumer advocate who has written a number of articles and most recently about consumer credit, credit repair, and debt-related issues. Spears warns consumers must take caution when it comes to debt collection scams.
“Today, there are so many ways for debt collection scammers to reach you – even on social media. The best thing you can do is be aware of your rights and ask for all information in writing. If someone says they are a debt collector but isn’t willing to provide detailed information in writing, you should simply stop dealing with them.”
Watching Out For Consumers
Finally, if you believe you are the victim of a debt collection scam, you should contact your local police department to file a report. The BBB’s ScamTracker monitors debt collection scams. They also encourage consumers to report any scams they may have experienced to ScamTracker. You can visit their website for more information on debt collection scams and how to protect yourself from them.
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Led by attorneys Michael D. Finn and J. Andrew Meyer, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection and debt collection defense firm with over 75 years of legal experience. If you are being harassed by debt collectors, do not hesitate to contact The Finn Law Group for a free consultation. We will review your case and help protect your rights under Florida and Federal law. Contact us today.