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How to spot Scams involving 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 come across a debt collection scam.

By Sean Pyles Senior Writer | Personal finances, credit, and personal finance Sean Pyles leads podcasting at NerdWallet as the host and producer of NerdWallet’s “Smart Money” podcast. The show “Smart Money,” Sean talks with Nerds from the NerdWallet Content team to answer the questions of listeners about their personal finances. With a particular focus on sensible and actionable money 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 also creates special segments to explore topics such as the racial gap in wealth as well as how to get started investing and the history of college loans.

Before Sean took over podcasting for NerdWallet, he covered topics that dealt with consumer debt. His writing has been featured in USA Today, The New York Times as well as other publications. When Sean isn’t writing about personal finance, Sean can be found working in the garden, taking runs , and walking his dog for long walks. He is based at Ocean Shores, Washington.

Aug 5, 2021

Written by Kathy Hinson Lead Assigning Editor Personal finance, credit scoring, managing money and debt Kathy Hinson leads the core personal finance team at NerdWallet. Previously, she spent 18 years with The Oregonian in Portland in capacities such as chief of the copy desk and team editor and designer. Prior experience includes news and copy editing for many Southern California newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. She graduated with a bachelor’s in mass communications and journalism from Iowa’s University of Iowa.

Many or all of the products featured here come from our partners who compensate us. This affects the products we feature and where and how the product is featured on the page. However, this does not influence our opinions. Our opinions are our own. Here’s a list and .

If you’re receiving threatening calls from someone about a debt, even if it’s one you know, you may be the target of a scam to collect your debt.

Here are key ways to protect yourself from fraudulent .

Red flags of frauds in debt collection

It’s possible to receive an unsolicited call from a debt collector if you do not know the debt you are supposed to owe or if the caller:

Can’t or won’t provide detailed information about the debt and initial creditor.

They won’t divulge any information about the agency they claim to represent, including name or address as well as phone number.

Utilizes aggressive tactics to force you into immediate payment.

Requests payment by phone.

It asks for sensitive data including details of the bank account you have, Social Security number or your debit or credit card number.

>> MORE:

Common scams

It’s easy to detect a scam in which an individual attempts to collect an unpaid debt you aren’t aware of or even know you don’t owe. False debt collectors have a variety of methods of obtaining your personal information and hoping to convince you into a fast payment via a cold-call.

Some are more difficult to identify, for instance, scammers who attempt to get a hold of a debt you do due. Scammers might tap into your credit report to see whom you owe money to for instance, and then call pretending to represent these creditors.

The threat of arrest as well as abusive speech are clear signs of a scammer, according to the . It is not possible to be arrested for a debt and it’s illegal to deceive consumers about what happens if you don’t pay off a debt. Legitimate debt collectors tend to tread very carefully in this area.

Another red flag is anyone claiming as representing the Internal Revenue Service and seeking immediate payment. The government’s tax collection agency will never demand that you pay immediately over the phone or ask for a debit or credit card number. Both of these are indications of . However, be aware that the IRS in 2017 is a bit different.

For any credit card, request confirmation letters -an official document that describes the specifics of the debt — prior to doing anything.

What should you do?

Consider your options before you take action . Take these steps if you think the caller is trying to scam you.

Get information

Begin by gathering information about the debt collector and the debt. Request a confirmation letter. True debt collectors will be able to provide you with this information promptly without hesitation. Any hesitation could be the sign of a scammer.

Ask the caller for his name, as well as the name of his employer, along with its phone number and street address. If the caller doesn’t give the information requested, that’s a red flag.

Protect your personal information

No matter how aggressively a potential debt collector asks to contact you, do not divulge or confirm details of your bank account and debit or credit 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 contacted you regarding payment for the debt you owe, ask the original creditor to confirm whether it sold the debt, and also for details on the contact number for the agency that manages it.

Ignore the calls

Refraining from receiving repeated calls is one of the most effective ways to keep the scammer off your shoulders. Do not hesitate to call back when you’re faced with harassment or threats or threats, and do not answer calls. Since scammers are looking to make a quick profit from a simple subject, they’re likely to keep you on their radar for long before moving on.

If you’re dealing with a legitimate debt collector, however, you’ll want to devise a strategy to .

File a complaint

Don’t be afraid to file a formal complaint with the state or the government If you believe that a scam debt collector has reached you. Find all the details you can , and then include it in your formal complaint.

The author’s bio: Sean Pyles is the executive producer and host of NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast. His writing has been featured on The New York Times, USA Today and elsewhere.

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