Debt is overwhelming in and of itself. However, when debt collectors start to get involved, it can add additional stress to an already challenging situation. Dealing with debt collectors can be difficult—especially when you’re unsure if you’re being contacted by a legitimate entity or a scammer. When bills on a credit card, car loan, or mortgage go unpaid, your lender will likely engage in efforts to collect the money. This could be in the form of a debt collector or other entity that attempts to collect the debt. While there are many legitimate debt collection agencies, there are also many scammers who either engage in illegal collection practices or even try to collect money on debts that don’t exist.
If you are receiving threatening phone calls from a debt collector, it’s likely you are the target of a debt collection scam. If you suspect you are the victim of a debt collection scam, it’s essential to seek legal representation from a skilled debt resolution lawyer. An experienced attorney may be able to assist you in identifying unlawful debt collection practices and ensure your rights are protected. Here are four debt collection scams you should look out for and some tips for detecting debt collection scams.
How to Detect a Debt Collection Scam
Educating yourself on how to detect a debt collection scam is the easiest way to protect yourself from unfair and illegal practices. Debt collection scammers have various outlets for collecting your information and use manipulative tactics to pressure you into quick payments over the phone. Some of the most difficult scams to detect are from callers who are–illegally or unfairly—trying to collect on a debt that you do owe. These scammers often find ways to tap into your credit report, identify who you owe money to, and pretend to represent those lenders or creditors.
Additionally, if you receive a phone call from a person claiming they are a debt collector who is using abusive or threatening language, it is almost always a scammer. In accordance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, it is illegal to arrest individuals for debt or to mislead people on the consequences of not paying outstanding debts. Therefore, if you receive a phone call from someone threatening you with jail time, it is almost always a scam.
Another telltale sign of a scam is someone requesting immediate payment over the phone. The IRS or any legitimate debt collector will never ask you to pay immediately over the phone or ask for a credit card number. Both of these actions are red flags. Below is a closer look at four debt collection scams you should look out for.
Callers Who Withhold Information
Debt collectors are required to provide you with comprehensive information about the debt they are looking to collect, including the creditor, the amount owed, and other factors that verify the debt. If you receive a call from a debt collector who does not provide you with this information, it’s likely they are a scammer. Any debt collector who does not provide this information over the phone is required to send you these details within five days of their initial contact.
Callers Who Threaten to Contact Your Family or Friends
Some debt collector scammers will threaten borrowers by asserting they will contact your friends, family, or employer about your outstanding debt. In almost all scenarios, debt collectors are not allowed to contact other people about your debt without your permission. Under the law, they can only ask people close to you about your location and the best way to contact you.
A Caller Tries to Collect a Debt That You Don’t Owe
Many scammers will contact you asserting you have debts that you don’t owe. All debt collectors are required to provide you with information about the debt you owe, including the name of the creditor or lender and the amount you owe. If you don’t believe you owe the money the debt collector is attempting to collect, you can tell them you will send a written notice to dispute the debt.
A Caller Asks You for Personal Financial Information
If any debt collector asks you for sensitive financial information, such as your bank account or routing number, it is almost definitely a scam. It’s essential to never provide anyone with your personal financial information unless you are confident it’s a legitimate entity. Scammers who get a hold of this information can use it to commit identity theft.
Contact a Skilled Debt Collection Attorney
Unfortunately, debt collector harassment is a common problem. If you have bills you are struggling to pay and suspect you will be contacted by a debt collector, it is important to know your rights. At McCarthy Law, we protect your rights and work with your bank and credit card company to negotiate a debt settlement. Our team works tirelessly to ensure our clients get a settlement that fits their financial situation. To schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced debt settlement paralegal, call our office at (855) 976-5777 or fill out an online contact form today.