Family of homeowners and other lessees should watch for fraudulent debt collectors, many of whom call to collect overdue payments on loans taken out by a family member or significant other. The caller, posing on behalf of a loan company, will often threaten consequences for your loved one if you do not comply with their demands.
But the majority of these overdue loans don’t exist, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB). If a family member or significant other is in fact in debt, remitting payment to a scammer will not reduce it.
If a fake debt collector calls, take action with these steps.
Do not offer or confirm personal information.
Until you have verified the call, do not provide bank account, credit card or other private information – and don’t confirm information the caller offers, either.
Ask for an official “validation notice” of debt.
Legitimate debt collectors are legally required to provide, in writing, the name of the creditor, the amount of debt and a statement of your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, says the BBB.
Ask for specific identifying information.
Get as much identifying information as possible, such as the name of the caller, the company he or she works for, the company’s street address and phone number, to confirm the collection agency exists.
Alert loved ones.
Make sure targeted loves ones are aware that scammers have at least some of their personal information. Loved ones should also place a fraud alert on his or her credit report, says the BBB.
Monitor your credit report.
Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to check (for free) for suspicious activity or overdue debt in your name. Those without access to Internet can call (877) 322-8228 to monitor their report.
File an FTC complaint.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt collections from being abusive, unfair or deceptive. If the debt collector threatens you or your loved ones, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Published with permission from RISMedia.