Here’s what you should do when dealing with a suspected fake debt collector:
Step 1. Don’t give out your private information.
Everything you say and do, will be used against you. Never share or even confirm any sensitive information with an unknown caller. Having your details gives them the ability to withdraw funds from your current accounts, your credit cards, or even open new accounts and loans under your name.
Sensitive information you should never give to unknown callers:
⦁ Social security information
⦁ Bank account details
⦁ Credit card details
⦁ Passport or ID number
⦁ Mother’s maiden name (used to reset passwords)
⦁ Online passwords
⦁ PIN codes
⦁ Date of birth
All of this information is used to access your money.
Step 2. Ask the debt collector for their full details.
Fake debt collectors are often not real companies. If you ask for their details, they will give false company details or avoid giving you their full details when asked.You have the legal right to:
i. Request a Validation Notice (or letter).
You have the legal right to refuse further communications with a debt collector until you receive something called a “validation notice”.It’s a document that confirms the debt you owe and additional information about the creditor. We will discuss debt validation further in chapter 5.
When you’re unsure whether a debt collector is real, ask for a validation notice. Real debt collectors, by law, have to send it to you.
Here’s what to say:
After you’ve asked for the validation notice, you can give them your mailing address or, better so, the address of your consumer lawyer.
ii. Ask for full business details
Think it’s strange that the FBI or IRS is calling you for a debt payment? It almost always is.Collection scams often make it look like they’re calling from somewhere with authority.
⦁ Law firms
⦁ Law enforcement (police stations, FBI)
Always ask a debt collector for their full business details and their full name.Real debt collection agencies have to truthfully identify themselves – by law.Once you have their details, tell them you’ll speak to them again once you have verified they are real and end the conversation.
You can verify them by:
I. Googling the company and calling the number on their website. Are there other people in the office? Do they have you and your debt on file?
II. Inputting their company’s details into the Better Business Bureau search (https://www.bbb.org/). That way you can know if they’re real and if there are any outstanding complaints against them.III. Check your state’s debt collector registry if it has one.
Step 3. Break all communication with the possible debt scammer.
Demand that the collector stops contacting you.A debt collector must stop contacting you (on your cell phone) in pursuit of the debt if you ask. If they continue to call, start taking notes of their calls using our debt collector call log sheet. Step 4. Contact your creditor.
It’s a good idea to go to the source:
Communicate with the primary business they claim the debt belonged to in the first place.
If the debt and the collector are real, the original creditor will be able to confirm it.
Ask them to:
i. Verify the debt.
ii. Confirm the authorized debt collector.
Step 5. Report the call.
So, you’ve found out they are definitely a scam artist.If you determine that the collector is a scammer, contact your State’s attorney general or a consumer lawyer to discuss the calls.
You can find your attorney general’s details by typing this into Google: “[your state] attorney general”.
Your State’s attorney general can help you to further understand your rights and give you advice about what to do.
If the debt collector is real, but is abusive, attempting to collect a debt you do not owe, or contacts you after you have asked them not to, contact a licensed debt collection attorney or TCPA attorney.
You may be entitled to monetary damages.