For those who've fallen behind on their bills, debt collection efforts can seem endless. Collection agencies only get paid when you pay off your debt, so their aggressive efforts are understandable. There are rules about when, where and how often you can be contacted by bill collectors, but even those strictly obeying the law can turn your life into a nightmare of dodging phone calls.
Fake Debt Collectors
If you are already receiving a number of collections calls, you may not be aware that some of these calls are not legitimate debt collectors. A growing number of criminals are now able to access just enough of your personal information to lend an air of legitimacy to the calls, making it more difficult for consumers to identify the fakers. Watch for these warning signs of a fake debt collector:
- The caller threatens to take dramatic punitive actions if the debt is not paid, sometimes within the same day. Real collection agencies are willing to accept payment within a reasonable period of time and never resort to making ridiculous threats, such as arresting you if payment is not made immediately. You must understand that you cannot be jailed for failing to pay debts, with few exceptions. Owing back child support and taxes can cause you to be jailed, however.
- The caller refuses to accept traditional forms of payment, such as a check or credit card. Normally, these thieves ask for payment by money order or wire transfer, which is nearly impossible to trace to the recipient.
- If you are able to get a phone number from the caller, attempt to call them back. If the very same individual answers the phone, you should consider this a red flag that, instead of a collection agency, you have a single person with a cell phone trying to scam you.
- The caller refuses to give you information about the company, such as the full legal name and contact information, or provides you with false information. The original creditor is normally very happy to provide you with any information on who, if anyone, is collecting the debt for them.
- The caller resorts to threats, insults, rudeness, cursing and other unprofessional tactics. Legitimate collection agencies can be aggressive and demanding, but they are usually professional at the same time.
If you are in financial distress, you are likely dealing with many different types of debt collection activities, and may even be in danger of losing your home or vehicle. Contact a bankruptcy attorney like Steven J Glaser, Atty to learn more about how you can stop debt collection activity immediately and begin to make a fresh financial start.Share