Scammers cold call you, claiming to be from a company you probably never heard of, demanding money for a “debt” you owe. They can pretend to be anyone from your local municipality, to a government department or even your bank. Reports of phone calls demanding payments and using threats seem to be on the rise in the U.S.
Typically, the caller would use a name or company that sounds official but in reality they just don’t exist. In some rare cases there are existing companies who follow this path and eventually pay the price for their unethical behavior.
They state they are contacting you regarding an outstanding debt and further make it sound legitimate by including claim numbers and urgency that the matter must be deat with ASAP or you face a warrent of arrest or court action. This is just a bunch of nonsense becuase scammers use fear to evoke action out of the victim, often making the victim feel like they must comply, even though the debt is fake.
Despite the threats these “debt collectors” make, they don’t have any power over you. Don’t give in and pay money you don’t owe; it’s likely they’ll be back for more once they already coaxed something out of you.
Here are a few tips for dealing with these intimidating calls:
- Ask the caller to provide you with an official “validation notice” of the debt. Debt collectors are required by law to provide the information in writing. The notice must include the amount of debt, name of the creditor and a statement of your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
- If you think someone is fake, ask for his / her name, company, street address and telephone number. Then attempt to contact the collection agency or research them online.
- Check your credit report by going to annualcreditreport.com. This will help you determine if you have outstanding debts or if there have been any suspicious activity under your name.
- If the caller has a great deal of information on you, place a fraud alert on your credit report.
- Remember that Federal government agencies don’t ask people to send money for unpaid loans. If you feel unsure, contact the agency yourself to verify it.M/li>
- Never make any wire transfers or load a rechargeable money card as a way to pay back debt. Even if a debt is real, you have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
- If the debt is legitimate but you suspect the collecter may to be – contact your creditor about the calls. Share the information you have about the suspicious calls and find out who, if anyone, the creditor has authorized to collect the debt.