How Can You Identify Scam Collection Calls?
Scam collection calls are often related to debt collection involving overdue payments. Collecting overdue payments is not an illegal activity by itself. However, debt collection and those involved in collecting overdue debt, including via phone calls, must adhere to certain rules and regulations.
Further, overdue payments or debt isn’t always pursued by the entity consumers owe money to. At times, companies sell their debt burden to third party collectors who then make money out of recovering the debt amounts. Third-party debt collectors thus are under great pressure to extract money from consumers. In doing so, they often resort to unethical practices, leading to stress and anxiety among the consumers.
Worse still, if you are a consumer, you need to be vigilant to ensure you are being contacted for a debt you indeed owe, and for the amount you are being asked to pay back. Debt collectors will often not bother to validate details such as amount of money owed, time period lapsed, original owner of the debt and the validity of the debt, etc.
As a result, how can you as a consumer, identify the authentic debt collection calls from scam collection calls? Pay close attention. Here are a few pointers which can help you distinguish between the genuine calls from scam debt collection calls.
- There is a lot of emphasis on immediate payment
Typically, there is a period of time allowed to the consumer between receiving information about the debt and making the payment. But an agent making a scam collection call will immediately pressure consumers into making a payment. The pressure can come in the form of intimidating speech, leaving messages with relatives or friends, giving out debt details to others, and worse still, advising you to sell current assets to repay the debt.
- The caller does not provide any details about themselves
Legally, anybody making a debt collection call needs to identify themselves, the purpose of the call, and the agency or entity on whose behalf they are making the call. If they don’t, be weary; consumers have every right to know. If despite asking for these details, you get evasive replies or none, or you get intimating responses, you may safely assume it to be a fake collection call.
- You get an ID on the number through your device, but it is unlisted
Most lending institutions and entities have an online presence these days and even a cursory check on the internet can help you find numbers or names of organizations they belong to. If you are searching for the numbers online but are unable to find any details, you can safely assume it is a fake debt collection call.
- Caller unable to provide you with details of your debt
This should raise a red flag right away. Debt collection callers must have details of your debt with them. However, should you get the details, including amount overdue, name of creditor, etc., you may still be vulnerable to fake calls. As a consumer, carry out your research. Check up on any old debts you may have and compare this with the details provided to you by the collection agent.
- When you ask for more details on the debt, the collection agent threatens you
It is illegal for debt collectors to threaten a consumer. If there is any kind of intimidation or threats involved, it is very likely that you are on a fake collection call, or debt collection scam call. When they feel the consumer is likely to be informed and aware, fake collection callers will resort to scare tactics to intimidate the consumer into making a quick payment.
- Are you being asked for personal details?
A genuine debt collector will have information related to your debt and not need to ask you for critical details such as date of birth, social security information, etc. Fake collection callers may not have the real data.
Be warned though that at times, they may have details such as your social security number. This does not mean it is not a fake call; it could still be one. Persist in engaging a collection caller till they provide you with details of your supposed debt which can then be verified by you.
Why should you call in professionals?
The Telephone Consumers Protection Act or TCPA outlines certain acceptable norms for debt collectors. As a consumer, you are entitled to stop collection calls that are causing you stress and trauma. Did you know that you can write to have the debt collection calls stopped?
Learn more about debt collection calls and more importantly, stop the harassment from affecting you or a loved one. Call us at (855) 254-7841 for immediate assistance if you suspect you are receiving fake collection calls.