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How to spot Scams in Debt Collection
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How to Spot Scams in Debt Collection
Know how to spot scams, safeguard your information and alert authorities if you are contacted by a debt collection scam.
By Sean Pyles Senior Writer | Personal finances, financial debt Sean Pyles leads podcasting at NerdWallet as the producer and host of NerdWallet’s “Smart Money” podcast. On “Smart Money” Sean talks with Nerds across the NerdWallet Content team to answer questions from listeners regarding their personal finances. With a focus on thoughtful and actionable financial advice, Sean provides real-world guidance to help people improve the financial situation of their lives. In addition to answering listeners’ financial concerns on “Smart Money” Sean also interviews guests outside of NerdWallet and creates special segments on topics like the racial inequality gap, how to start investing, and the background of student loans.
Before Sean took over podcasting at NerdWallet He also covered issues related to consumer debt. His work has appeared throughout the media including USA Today, The New York Times as well as other publications. When when he’s not writing about personal finances, Sean can be found working in the garden, taking walks, or walking his dog for long walks. Sean is located at Ocean Shores, Washington.
Aug 5 2021
Edited by Kathy Hinson Lead Assigning Editor Personal finance, credit scoring, financial management and debt Kathy Hinson leads the core personal finance team at NerdWallet. Previously, she spent 18 years at The Oregonian in Portland in roles including copy desk chief and team leader for design and editing. Previous experience included news and copy editing for many Southern California newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. She received a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and journalism from Iowa’s University of Iowa.
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If you’re getting threatening calls from someone about the payment of a debt, even if it’s one you know, you may be the target of a scam to collect debts.
Here are some key steps to protect yourself from illegitimate .
Warning signs of frauds in debt collection
It’s possible to receive an unwanted call from a debt collector if the caller doesn’t identify the debt that you think you owe or if the caller:
Don’t have or aren’t willing to provide complete details about the debt as well as the initial creditor.
Won’t give you information about the agency the person claims to represent, including the name, address and phone number.
Uses aggressive tactics to pressure the customer into paying immediately.
Makes a request for payment via phone.
Asks for sensitive information, such as details of the bank account you have, Social Security number or your credit or debit card number.
It’s simple to spot a scam in which people attempt to collect a debt that you don’t recognize or know that you don’t have. The fake debt collectors have numerous methods to get your details and hope to pressure you into quick payment by making a cold phone call.
Other scams can be more difficult to detect, such as a scammer who tries to get a hold of a debt you do have to pay. Scammers may look into your credit report in order to discover the people you owe money to, for example or call pretending to represent those creditors.
Threats of police action or abusive words are telltale signs of a scammer, according to the . You can’t be arrested for a debt, and it’s against the to deceive consumers about the consequences of not paying debts. Debt collectors who are legitimate tend to be very careful in this field.
Another red flag: anyone claiming that they represent someone from the Internal Revenue Service and seeking immediate payment. The IRS, the tax collection agency of the federal government, is not going to demand you make a payment immediately by phone or ask for a credit or debit card number. Both are indicators of . However, be aware that the IRS in 2017 will be announcing tax refunds.
As with any debt, you should request confirmation letters -which is a document that details the specifics of the debt — before doing anything.
What to do
Consider your options before you take action . But take these particular steps if you believe that the person calling you is trying to scam you.
Begin by gathering information about the debt collector as well as the debt. Get a validation letter. Legitimate debt collectors should be able to provide you with this information promptly without delay. Any hesitation could be the sign of a scammer.
Ask the caller for his or her name and employer, and its telephone number as well as street address. If the person calling you won’t provide you these details, it’s an indication of a red flag.
Secure your personal information
However the debt collector you are considering asking for information, you should not divulge or provide information about your bank account and credit or debit card numbers, or Social Security number. If you do, you could be at risk of identity theft or allow fraudsters steal money from your account.
Contact the creditor of the initial
If you believe a fraud debt collector has reached you regarding payment for the debt you owe, ask the original creditor if it sold your debt and to provide the contact information from the collector agency that owns the debt.
Don’t pay attention to the messages
Avoiding repeated phone calls is among the most effective ways to keep an unscrupulous person off your side. Do not hesitate to call back in the face of threats or harassment or threats, and do not answer calls. Since scammers are looking to make a quick buck by stealing an easy target, they’re not likely to stay with you long before going on.
If you’re dealing an authentic debt collection agency You’ll have to make a plan to .
File a complaint
Don’t be afraid to file a complaint with the authorities or your state If you believe that a scam debt collector has contacted you. Find all the details you can and include it in your formal complaint.
Author bios: Sean Pyles is the executive producer and host of NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast. His work has appeared on The New York Times, USA Today and elsewhere.
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