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What to Do If You Suspect A Debt Collections ScamSalem-News.com
Keep your cool and deal with creditors head held high.
(SALEM, Ore.) - If you are like many of us, you might have gotten a call or an email from someone claiming to be from a debt collection agency at some point. Maybe you are even dealing with this right now.
But is this person trying to scam you, or are they telling the truth? Here's how to respond correctly so that you can make an informed decision about whether to take the next step.
In other words, here’s what to do if you suspect a debt collection agency scam.
Take Nothing At Face ValueA debt collection agency call can be a scam, even though it may sound legitimate. The con artists will ask you for personal information, including your Social Security number and date of birth, so that they can perform what they call "back-office verifications".
Even though a fraudulent debt collection agency claims it will not charge you any fees and only needs your personal information to verify your identity, neither of these statements is true.
Once they have your Social Security number and date of birth, a crooked debt collection agency will steal your identity and empty your bank accounts by transferring money into offshore accounts.
It's essential that if you receive a call from these con artists that you do not provide them with any of your personal information.
Provide as Little Data as PossibleMake them tell you what they have. A legitimate collector will be able to provide — in writing — all of the specifics about the debt so you can verify it.
Ask them for their address and tell them you’re sending a validation letter. A fraudster will usually back down at this point.
If, after receiving information back from them, it turns out the debt is real, you might consider availing yourself of the credit debt relief program at www.freedomdebtrelief.com.
But only after you’re 100 percent certain the call is legitimate.
If You Already Shared Personal DataIf you've already provided your personal information, and it turns out to be a scam, there's not much you can do at that point. But you need to be aware of what they're up to so you can thwart their efforts as much as possible. Contact your bank or credit union immediately and report suspicious activity on your accounts. They'll probably change your passwords, cancel those accounts, and offer other security tips. It may also be wise to place a fraud alert on your credit file.
Do Not Try To Haggle Or Make DealsDo not accept responsibility for any debt, nor should you try and haggle or make deals with them. In some cases legitimate debt collectors may have bought old debts at a meager price. However, there is a statute of limitations within which legal action must be taken. If it has passed, there’s nothing they can do. But if you accept responsibility for the debt, you could restart that clock and if the debt is legit, you’ll set yourself up for a trip to court.
Tell Them You Are Contacting An AttorneyOnce you’re certain you are receiving calls from a crooked debt collection agency, tell them they should expect to hear from your lawyer. State in clear terms that you do not wish to speak with them again.
Do not say anything more than outlined above, especially if you feel emotional or vulnerable.
There's no need for abuse on either side of these calls; indicate what actions you will take next and send any incoming calls to voicemail. Then contact your attorney instead of returning their call or answering their message. If you do pick up their call, simply refer them to your attorney, or respond as your attorney prefers.
Scams Do HappenDebt collections scams do happen. Following the advice above will help you avoid getting burned. And again, if it turns out to be legit, seek professional credit debt relief assistance.
Source: Salem-News.com Special Features Dept.
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