The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) is a consumer-minded statute intended to protect debtors from the abusive collection practices of debt collectors. If a collector violates the FDCPA, the debtor has various means of recourse under the law. Under the FDCPA collectors are prohibited from using profane language or violence, making empty threats, calling excessively, charging more for a debt than is actually owed and implying they are attorneys or government officials in an effort to intimidate a consumer into making payment.
An important scam to be aware of is fake debt collectors. A scam debt collector will violate virtually every section of the FDCPA. The reason is because if you tried to search for this company in order to serve them a complaint under the FDCPA, you won’t find them. If you are able to get a company name out of them, it likely is a made up name. If you get an address out of them, chances are the address is a UPS store. If you give them your bank account information your money will be taken for a debt you likely don’t even owe. Moreover, you will see on your bank statement that the payee is not the same name as the people who called you.
When trying to determine the legitimacy of a collector or agency who is contacting you, the first rule of thumb is to never give out your personal information. They may even have your social security number and address. Chances are they obtained it from a pay day loan operation that may have been used. Still, don’t be fooled by them knowing who you are. Additionally, a legitimate collector should be able to provide you with the name and address of both the collection agency and the original creditor and the amount you owe. A collector is obligated by law to have this information on hand for you and either failure or refusal to provide it is usually a red flag that the collection is a sham.
Scam collectors never send out collection letters. Should you have suspicions that a collector is a fake collection agency, demand that they send you something in writing, on letterhead, describing the debt, to whom it is owed, and the exact balance. A fake debt collector will likely refuse this. Or, they may send you an e-mail or a letter on a letterhead that does not have any location information or office address.
A fake collector will be overly aggressive. They will threaten to send you to jail, take your home or seize your assets, all to collect a payment. Make sure to never hand over a credit card or bank account number. We have written a few other articles in our blog on this issue, and they can be found at: Abusive Debt Collectors Shut Down By Feds and What Do I Do Now.
If you are being contacted by a debt collector or feel your rights have been violated in anyway under the FDCPA contact SmithMarco P.C. for a free case review.