Warnings are being issued to consumers to watch for persistent scammers who attempt to collect debts that don’t even exist.
When an unfamiliar voice on the phone informs you that you owe hundreds of dollars on an unpaid debt, a debt you don’t even recall having, what do you do? How do you know if the call is legitimate?
Anyone can fall victim to calls from fake debt collectors because the scammers are often very convincing. If you haven’t been doing a good job of keeping track of your debts, you could become easy prey.
Here are some tips on how you can protect yourself.
Know Your Rights
Whatever they tell you, tell them you’ll wait for the letter – but don’t give them your address. Debt collection agencies must send a written letter outlining the details of the debt and if they’re legitimate they’ll have your address on file.
You should also know that debt collectors are not permitted to use abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices when attempting to collect your debt.
If someone calls you claiming to be from a debt collection agency, ask them for the name, address, and phone number of the company they’re calling from, or the contact details of the debtor they’re trying to reach.
A legitimate debt collector will be happy to provide you with this information whereas phony collectors may avoid giving an answer.
Keep Track of Your Debts
If you receive written notice of a debt, order your own credit report so that you can see whether the debt appears on your file. If you don’t recognise the debt, you must respond in a letter stating that you are not the owner of the debt.