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Here are Some Quick Guidelines to Help Protect Yourself from Questionable Debt Collectors.
1. Do not try to communicate and reason with the collector: Sometimes people will try to reason and explain to a collector that they have called the wrong person, have the wrong debt amount, etc.. It is advisable not to do this. Many debt collectors are a “volume” business that make hundreds if not thousands of calls a day. They will most likely have very limited knowledge regarding your situation. It is generally futile for you to try to explain and talk to the caller.
2. Beware of Scams: Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shut down a Global Legal Services who allegedly left messages threatening legal action and arrest if the consumer did not pay. The full article can be found here. Watch out for debt collectors that demand financial information from you. Do not give out personal information to these callers. Always be suspicious when a debt collector claims you owe money for something you do not recognize.
3. Demand written verification: Always ask the debt collector to put it in writing. You are entitled to this under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. Sometimes collectors may claim that there is no time for a written statement and that you will be arrested today if you do not pay. Obviously, this is a scare tactic. You should be aware of such tactics.
4. Ask for specifics: If a debt collector claims a lawsuit has been filed against you. Ask for the specific details like the case docket number, the name of the plaintiffs, and the charges. You will likely find out that the caller does not have a case number because it is a fear tactic scam. If a caller claims to be a law enforcement individual, ask for their name and badge number. Again, if it is scam they won’t be able to provide this information. Even if the caller provided the information you requested, you will need to verify the information. Just because they give you some identifying information , it does not mean the information is legitimate.
5. File a complaint: Notify the Federal Trade Commission if the caller is abusive, uses threats, or if you suspect a scam.
If you would like more information about debt collections or have debt collectors calling you, You can contact us here.