When you have collection agencies contacting you, it is often a scary and overwhelming experience, forcing you to let your guard down and not think as clearly. Collection agencies use your emotions and vulnerability to force you into making payment on debts that may either be illegitimate or inflated. Collection agencies often provide you with little information about the debt and hound you until payment is made. Far too often, consumers end up paying for debts they never actually owed. Over the past several years with the rapidly failing economy, there has been an increased number of scams using false collection claims in order to receive payment from vulnerable consumers. Considering how many payments the average consumer makes per month and how much debt the average consumer carries, it is no surprise that scamming a consumer into making payment actually works.
In most instances debt collection scams begin with a simple phone call. The caller will sound intimidating and serious in an effort to direct the conversation. Often times the collector will make up a name of the company he or she works for and will continue to contact you until payment is made or a request for verification of the debt is received. Most of the time, because consumers are intimidated, they make payment over the phone instead of following their instincts and requesting validation prior to agreeing to pay on a debt they don’t believe is theirs.
In order to prevent being taken advantage of by these scam collection agencies, it is important to know your rights so that you are not coerced into making payment and can adequately represent yourself. While the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) is there to protect you, after the damage is done, filing a lawsuit against these fictitious collection agencies is next to impossible—they cannot be located and the reality is they do not really exist. The most important step to take is to always ask for additional information. Good questions to ask the collector for are proof of the debt in writing, ask for the collector’s name and address, ask to only be contacted in writing. You can also request a telephone number for you to contact the collector directly. Request written documentation from the original creditor regarding the debt, including any previous payments you may have made. Never, never, never make a payment over the phone or set up automatic withdrawals from your account without first having written proof of the legitimacy of the debt.
Read some of our previous articles dealing with scam collectors including Phony Debt Collectors and What Do I Do Now.
Lastly, there is no harm in asking for help. If you are not sure about your rights contact an attorney. The FDCPA was enacted specifically to protect consumers like you from scam collectors. If you are being contacted by a debt collector and are unsure of your rights or simply need additional information, contact SmithMarco P.C. for a free case review.