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How to Catch a Bogus Debt Collector

No body likes debt collector calls, but how do you know if it is a legitimate company calling or a scammer calling to obtain your information or convince you to pay money to them for nothing? The calls all start out the same; asks for you by name, know something personal about you, they represent so and so company who is collecting a debt due by you. Then, sometimes the person gets nasty. They yell. They threaten you. They may threaten to sue you or take your income tax return or even garnish your wages. You get scared. You panic. You pay what they are looking for. But wait! It turned out it really wasn’t a debt collector. Where can you go to protect yourself?

This is where the Fair Debt Collection Act comes into play. First, ask the called for their name and company contact information. Write it down for your records. If the person on the phone refuses to give it to you, the call is likely a phony. By law, the collector needs to identify him/herself. Next, if the called says they need to confirm your information, don’t give out or confirm your personal financial or sensitive information unless you have confirmed this caller is legit. Reports show the scammer like to take the personal information they obtained about you and use it to commit identity theft. Maybe they will open up a credit card in your name. Tell the caller you need written proof of who they are, which is called a validation notice, before you will talk any further. If the caller is real, they must send you a validation notice within five days of when they first contact you. This is the law. You then have 30 days to dispute the debt.