Fake Debt Collectors and Collection Tactics
If consumers did not have enough to worry about having to deal with rising credit card interest rates, late fees and over-limit fees, zombie debt, and fervent bill collectors, now we have to worry about collectors calling about fake debt.
While many legitimate collection agencies follow the FDCPA
, there are some collectors out there that are only running a scam operation and will be quick to use threats and scare tactics to get you to pay up quick. Their scams turn up in mailboxes, on the internet and through the telephone every day. Some collectors pose as national banks, government agencies (FBI, CIA), or even popular celebrity stars to gain personal information. These phony collectors may threaten to repossess your house, issue a warrant for your arrest, or even garnish your pay check, all of which are against the FDCPA rules. Some of which are even laughable (for example, there is no debtor’s prison in the United States).
Fake debt scammers rely on the fear and lack of knowledge about debt collection laws within the population. They also figure that a certain percentage of their calls will be received by individuals who may be carrying debt on credit cards anyway and may be susceptible to intimidation. When collectors use misleading statements and fail to provide identification, they are breaking the law. Never pay money to a possible thief. Keep cool when you hear from collectors to avoid this collection abuse.
Many times, people who took out payday loans online in the past are most susceptible. If you took a payday loan, be aware scammers may have access to your Social Security number and other personal information, and keep your guard up against such tactics.
Ironically, real "deadbeats" probably wouldn't fall for these scammers, since they have no intention of repaying their creditors anyway. But upright citizens may doubt themselves, thinking they've forgotten to pay a bill. Many times, the sums involved tend to be fairly small, so some people may be tempted to just pay the "bill" and "get it over with."
Ways to Protect Yourself Against Debt Collection Scams
Reporting Fake Debt Collectors
- Review your credit report frequently to find inaccuracies.
- Be aware of your current creditors and how much you owe.
- Ask creditors for identification before you provide any information over the telephone.
If you ever receive a call from anyone identifying himself as a debt collector, the law requires that the debt collector provide you with identification, and that the debt collector refrain from making misleading and threatening statements.
You can report any problems you have to your state Attorney General’s office www.naag.org
and the Federal Trade Commission www.ftc.gov
. Many states have their own debt collection laws that are different from the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Your Attorney General’s office can help you determine your rights under your state’s law.