Beware of fake debt collectors

Posted at 1:27 PM, Jul 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-15 14:27:46-04

Getting a call or letter that threatens legal action for an unpaid bill can be rather disturbing. But, before you pay or verify personal information, watch out. It could be a scam. Here are some telltale signs that things might not be legitimate.

  • Information about the debt does not sound familiar.
  • The letter or the caller does not provide a legitimate company name, address or phone number.
  • Abusive scare tactics are used such as telling you that you will be arrested.
  • There are numerous spelling, grammatical or other errors in the information provided. You are asked to pay the debt via wire transfer or with an I-Tunes or prepaid debit card.

Also, just because the caller has information about you, it does not necessarily mean that the call or letter is legitimate. This information could have been obtained by a hacker.

If you get a call or letter about a suspicious debt, do not pay or provide personal information until you can check things out with a legitimate source. Tell the caller that you refuse to discuss the issue further until they provide information about the debt in writing. If you are provided with a legitimate company who reported the debt, contact them to ask questions. If you are unsure if the debt is yours, send a written response to the company to dispute the debt or request more information.

Scam artists often pose as phony debt collectors, hoping that people will pay. But, if you pay a fake debt without checking things out, scammers may continue to call or send letters, hoping that they can scam you further.

For more information about fake debt collections or to report a scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission here.