There is a new concept in the country that fraudsters are using these days to con common people. Now, the scammers often declare themselves as debt collectors or collection agencies and try to fool the consumers. These fraudsters are constantly abusing and harassing consumers to scare them. They are manipulating them to provide bank and other personal details, and unfortunately, the consumers are doing that by believing those scammers as real debt collectors.
Many consumers don’t know how to recognize those imposters at all. They become quite helpless while choosing between a legitimate collection agency and a fraudster. But there are some significant signs that’ll point out that the collection call you are receiving might be from a fake collection agent or agency. Keep calm and concentrate on these signs if you want to get help from a genuine debt collector and to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
Here are a few important signs that could warn you about a debt collection scam:
1. If the debt collector is making threatening calls
Genuine debt collectors won't make threatening calls to you and claim that they'll have you arrested. They’ll also not claim themselves as the law enforcement.
2. If the caller acts abnormally and abuses you
Although genuine collection agencies somehow act abusively, con artists or fraudsters will often use over-the-top, aggressive, abusive threats. They’ll threaten you by telling about a lawsuit filing, or they might inform you that they’ll call the cops to get you arrested. These are, of course, false threats just to scare you.
3. If the caller is not comfortable with different payment modes
Most collection agents accept different payment modes, with combinations of fund transfer, phone, website, mail or debit card. They only concern about getting the money back no matter through what mode you are giving it to them. But a fraudster will normally insist you for making the payment only in one mode. They can ask the money by cash or insist you to pay by credit card over the phone. They’ll refuse all other modes of payment.
4. If the caller doesn’t provide you the details about your debts or if he is trying to collect a debt you do not recognize
You have several rights to ask about your debts which the debt collector is trying to collects. You need to verify the debt before paying off any money to any person. . If he fails to provide that information, and you can’t verify the debt at all, don’t entertain his request and don’t pay at all.
5. If the caller fails to provide his name and physical address
The debt collector must provide you his name with his company and the physical address. He must also inform you the actual creditors full name, on behalf of whom he is calling. If he doesn’t, it’s surely a scam. Any authorized, genuine collection agency will positively provide you this information.
6. If you’re getting the answers immediately after calling the agent or agency
Real collection agencies normally maintain a very complex phone channeling system. The reception will receive your call and route you to the concerned agent, but it may take few minutes to complete the process. But if you call the agent and the collector receives the phone immediately, that means he is probably using a cell phone to track you. This is definitely a sign of a scam.
Collection agencies have multiple debt collectors appointed to deal a case. It doesn't matter which agent you are dealing with, but if you are communicating with a common guy, suppose "Pedro Martinez" every time, it's a clear sign that you’re being conned by an imposter.
If you believe that your caller is a fake debt collection agent, You must follow these:
1. Do not communicate further
Don’t start communicating with those scammers at the first place. Just try to avoid them without involving into a conversation. Most of the time the scammers become successful just because of the people get interested in discussing and clearing out their names from the debt they don't owe. Remember..you don’t have to prove anything to these frauds. Don’t panic and keep your financial details away from them.
2. Make full inquiry about the caller including his professional license number
In many states, the debt collectors must have a license to carry out their job. . Check in detail every data he provided to you with your state officials where the collection agent holds his working license. If the collection agent denies your request or fails to prove his authenticity, don’t entertain any money related requests.
3. Ask for written verification
If you really have a debt and expecting a collection call, still you need to ask the debt collector to put details about the debt in writing. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act put this rule for the legitimate debt collectors and they must obey it. No matter what reason they’ll give to you, don’t move a muscle without receiving the details debt information in writing from the collection agency. Scammers might try to scare you by the fake threatenings, but you need to stand still and strong.
4. Physical records and complaints
You can record the telephone calls from the debt collector for future reference. Don’t do anything against the state law. You may skip recording the call but try to take notes so that in future you can have the proof to file a complaint against the scammers. You can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission with required proof and recordings, and the phone number also. You can also send a copy of your complaint to your state attorney general, Better Business Bureau, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
5. Call your creditor
If the debt is genuine - but you strongly believe that the collection agent is doing wrong with you, contact your creditor about this situation. Send him all the recordings, share all the information you have regarding those threatening calls and find out the person or agency, if the creditor appointed anyone to collect that debt.