What is a Debt Collection Scam?

Debt collection scams are a type of financial fraud that involves someone pretending to be a debt collector in order to collect money that you don’t owe. These scams can be very convincing, and they can often leave victims feeling scared and confused.

How do debt collection scams work?

Debt collection scams typically start with a phone call or an email from someone claiming to be a debt collector. The caller or emailer will often say that you owe money to a company that you don’t recognize, and they may threaten you with legal action if you don’t pay. In some cases, the scammer may even pose as a government official in order to add to the pressure.

What are some warning signs of a debt collection scam?

There are a few things you can look out for that may indicate that you’re dealing with a debt collection scam. These include:

  • The caller or emailer refuses to provide you with their name, company name, or contact information.
  • The caller or emailer demands that you pay immediately, often in cash or by wire transfer.
  • The caller or emailer threatens you with legal action if you don’t pay.
  • The debt that the caller or emailer is claiming you owe doesn’t sound familiar.

What should you do if you think you’re being scammed?

If you think you’re being scammed by a debt collector, there are a few things you should do:

  • Don’t panic. It’s important to stay calm and collected if you’re being scammed. Scammers often rely on their victims' fear to get them to pay up.
  • Hang up the phone. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a debt collector, hang up the phone immediately. Don’t give them any personal information, and don’t agree to pay anything.
  • Don’t respond to emails. If you receive an email from someone claiming to be a debt collector, don’t respond. Instead, forward the email to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
  • Verify the debt. If you’re still unsure whether or not you owe the debt, you can verify it by contacting the original creditor. You can also get a free copy of your credit report from annualcreditreport.com.

How can I protect myself from debt collection scams?

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from debt collection scams:

  • Don’t give out your personal information over the phone or online. This includes your Social Security number, your credit card number, and your bank account number.
  • Be wary of anyone who demands that you pay immediately. Legitimate debt collectors will usually give you some time to pay the debt.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re not sure whether or not you owe a debt, or if you’re not sure whether or not the person calling you is a legitimate debt collector, ask questions.
  • Be familiar with your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA protects consumers from abusive debt collection practices.

If you’ve been a victim of a debt collection scam, there are a few things you can do. You can file a complaint with the FTC, and you can also sue the scammer in civil court. You may also be able to get your money back.

If you think you are being scammed or just feel like you are unnecessarily being harassed, Report a Debt Collector That’s Threatening You

See Scam and Fraud Protection for 2023 for more information and make sure to Sign Up for our Scam Prevention Newsletter.

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