With the sheer quantity of debt collection calls that may go out in any given day, it is difficult to distinguish which of these calls are real and which are a potential sham. Most debt collectors with legitimate debts sound quite similar to those who are trying to scam money out of you, so what should you do? Here are a few tips that can help you spot the difference before becoming a victim to a scam.
Listen to the Claim
If you are sure that you have never taken out the type of debt the collector is calling about, then you should beware. Write down all of the details that you can while speaking to this person, and make sure you find out as many details as you can. From there, you can keep track of how often this person or company calls back, and you can see which details change from person to person. If all of the details and the facts continue to change each time they call it is a really easy way to see a scam in progress.
Verify Their Information Yourself
When these debt collectors call you, ask them for a phone number, address, website, and case number that you can verify. Most scammers will have some type of phone number set up, but the rest of the information will likely not be available. Some scammers will come up with this information off the top of their head to try and look legit, but a quick investigation will reveal the truth to you.
Don’t Feel Pressured By Threats
Part of the reason that these scammers are so successful is because of the threats they use. People back down out of fear and pay the debt just to make it go away. Instead of paying it to make the threats stop, verify their reality. If the scammer is saying you are about to be sued, find out from the courts directly. Ask the debt collector who calls for the docket number and do your research to ensure what this person says has any validity. Scammers like to threaten a lot because they know that eventually they will find someone weak or scared enough to believe what they say and hand over money. Don’t let this be you.
Check Your Credit Report
If this person claims that you took out the debt, you can check your own credit report to see what it says. Look over the report, and if you do not find the debt, you can contact the authorities to let them know about the scam going on. However, if you do find the debt and are still sure you did not incur the debt, you need to consider the notion that you may be a victim of identity theft and would need to contact the credit bureaus and authorities to start the process of fixing the problem.
Ask for Something in Writing
When a scammer is trying to pose as a debt collector, they typically have enough experience to make them sound legitimate. The problem is, the debts are not legitimate, and so if you ask for them to send you information through the mail that shows this debt that is in question, they will not have the proof to send to you. If you happen to get the one scammer who tries to show some sort of proof of this debt, you then have physical proof of what they are doing and can then take that evidence to the local authorities.
Scammers have been posing as debt collectors for many years, but their skill is getting better. It is getting harder to differentiate them from the legitimate callers by the day. However, if you take the right steps to ensure you are verifying your debts, you should not be stuck paying for a debt you did not incur.