How to Know If a Debt Collector Is a Scam

Do debt collectors call you out of the blue? Do you get collection calls even though you’re up to date on all your payments? Be aware of collection calls, especially when you haven’t fallen behind on your payment. These calls may be fraudulent and could signal a scam. The good news is that there are various ways how to know if a debt collector is a scam.

Protect Yourself at All Times with PeopleFinders

Falling victim of a debt scam can take a mental and financial toll.

Legitimate collectors must identify themselves by giving you their full name, the company they represent, business phone number, and email address. Government officials are legally required to provide you with their contact information to ensure transparency.
Please note that if the collector refuses to provide contact information, it clearly indicates you’re dealing with a scammer. Real debt collectors are trained to give you their contact information so you can call or email them to work out a deal.

That is why you can protect yourself with PeopleFinders. PeopleFinders allows you to look up phone numbers and names to ensure you’re dealing with real debt collectors. If you cannot find any information on PeopleFinders, chances are the collection call is bogus. So, before negotiating a deal with debt collectors, use PeopleFinders to ensure you’re dealing with a legit debt collection agency.

Ways to Tell a Debt Collector Is a Scam

Read on to find out how to tell if a debt collector is a scam.

Threats and harassment

Legitimate debt collectors are not allowed to threaten you or use abusive language. Any harsh tones, offensive language, or outright threats clearly indicate that you’re dealing with a possible con artist. They aim to intimidate you so you will comply with their requests. If collectors get pushy or aggressive, tell them you are recording the call. Doing so generally scares fake collectors away.

Collectors also cannot call you at all hours of the day and night. In general, collection calls must be done during usual business hours. In most states, debt collectors cannot call you at a number you did not provide. For instance, if you provided your mobile number on a loan application, debt collectors cannot call you at your home or business number.

Requests for payment by unusual methods

Fraudulent collectors may ask you to pay through a wire transfer, prepaid debit card, or gift card. Legitimate debt collectors usually accept payment by check, credit card, or online payment methods. Additionally, legitimate debt collectors want proof of the transaction conducted. They may also ask you to sign paperwork stating that you paid them. Keep in mind that transparent payment transactions must go through a business account. If a debt collector asks you to pay to an account in an individual’s name, you may be dealing with a scammer.

Lack of documentation

Scammers often refuse to provide you with written documentation of the debt, such as a validation notice, which is required by law. Legitimate debt collectors must provide written proof of the debt and your rights. Debt collectors must also provide detailed explanations about the amount owed, interests, and penalties. Ask them to forward the debt information to your attorney to ensure you’re dealing with a legitimate collector. This request generally separates the real collectors from the scammers.

Request for personal information

debt collector scammer pressure
Fake debt collectors often use high pressure tactics.

Fake debt collectors generally ask you for personal information, such as your social security number, date of birth, or bank account information. Legitimate debt collectors already have this information and should not need to ask for it. Bear in mind that fraudsters will try to get anything they can from you. If you volunteer personal information, scammers can use it for other nefarious purposes, such as identity theft.

Impersonating government agencies

Some scammers may pretend to be from government agencies, such as the IRS or the FBI, in an attempt to scare you into paying. Real government agencies will never ask for payment over the phone. Please remember that government agencies send written notices requesting payment. These notices are sent by regular mail as they are legal proof of the government’s payment request.
Law enforcement agencies such as the FBI will not request any payments. They may require your presence to give a statement or show up at your door to ask questions. However, real federal agents will never ask for money or payment in any way.

Avoid Giving Personal Information

If you suspect that a collection call may be a scam, it is important not to give any personal information or payment. Instead, ask for the caller’s name, company, and contact information and tell them you will call them back. Then, research the company using PeopleFinders to ensure you’re dealing with a legitimate collection firm.

Additionally, you may want to contact a bankruptcy attorney or professional accountant to help you figure out if you actually owe anything before making any payments. You can use the information you have researched on PeopleFinders to help an attorney determine the best course of action for your specific circumstances.

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