Scammers posing as collection agencies are becoming more deceptive and persistent, according to a news release from the Better Business Bureau. The agency is urging victims to file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission if they receive questionable calls from so-called debt collectors.
The latest scam, as described by the BBB, is targeting consumers who have never been late on loan payments or credit cards. From the news release:
"You start receiving calls from debt collectors. The frequency increases, and you even get a voicemail message that resembles this:
This is the Civil Investigations Unit. We are contacting you in regards to a complaint being filed against you, pursuant to claim and affidavit number D00D-2932, where you have been named a respondent in a court action and must appear You or your attorney will have 24 to 48 hours to oppose this matter Call 757-301-4745.
The scammers threaten that not paying could lead to "serious consequences, such as being sued, being arrested at work, having wages garnished or being forced to appear in court thousands of miles from home." They call at home and work, and they often know personal and family information.
The best protection against debt collection scams is for consumers to simply know their rights. Heres a quick overview:
Ask the debt collector to provide official validation notice of the debt. Debt collectors are required by law to provide the information in writing. The notice must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor and a statement of your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If the self-proclaimed collector wont provide the information, hang up.
If a call seems fake, ask for a name, company, street address and telephone number. Then, confirm that the collection agency is real.
Do not provide or confirm any bank account, credit card or other personal information over the phone until the call is verified.
Regularly check your credit report to help determine if any debts are outstanding or if there has been suspicious activity under your name. If the scammer has a great deal of personal information about you, be safe and place a fraud alert on your credit report.