It’s bad enough to deal with calls from a debt collector. However, a phony debt collector calling to scam you out of money is even worse. Recently, the Federal Trade Commission settled charges with a California man who worked with a fake debt collection company in India. He and the company deceived Americans to the tune of $5 million over two years. While that bogus operation has been shut down and criminal charges are pending, we can expect that similar scams are in the works. The good news is that there are many warning signs that can give away a phony debt collector. Accounts Retrievable would like to help you spot these scammers so that you and your finances remain safe.
– One major thing to understand is that you cannot be arrested for having private debt. If you are being threatened with imprisonment or being told you are talking to a law enforcement officer, you can be sure it’s a scam.
– If you start asking questions of the debt collector and the story starts to unravel, it is probably a scam. Fake debt collectors will refuse to provide a written “validation notice” of the debt. This is a required practice under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
– The most suspicious demand will be a payment using a transfer service such as Moneygram or Western Union. This is a huge red flag.
The people who are often targeted by these scam artists are usually people who are in financial unrest. The scam artists are most likely getting information about these people from the internet so that they know who to target. They are counting on these people to be confused and overwhelmed about their debt and easily tricked by scare tactics.
Bottom line: ask a lot of questions and get your paperwork in order so that you know what you owe and to whom. These fake debt collectors are counting on people being unorganized and unaware of their rights. If you are educated and aware of your personal debt and the basic practices of a collections agency, then this is your best defense against a scammer.
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