When facing financial difficulties, the last thing you need is to fall victim to dangerous collection scams. Unfortunately, scammers prey on vulnerable individuals and the elderly, attempting to exploit their fears and trust. Many times, clients who have received a discharge in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will receive a collection scam call, purportedly to collect a debt that was included in the bankruptcy. Do not fall for this scam and immediately contact your bankruptcy attorney before making any payment.
In this blog post, we’ll shed light on collection scams, how to identify them, and most importantly, how to protect yourself. By understanding the red flags and taking necessary precautions, you can safeguard your financial well-being and avoid falling into the traps of these unscrupulous individuals. Let’s get started!
Recognizing Collection Scams:
Collection scams often employ tactics designed to create a sense of urgency and fear. Be cautious if you encounter any of the following warning signs:
- Unsolicited calls or emails demanding immediate payment for a debt you don’t recognize.
- High-pressure tactics to make an instant payment or disclose personal information.
- Threats of legal action, arrest, or harassment if you fail to comply.
- Refusal to provide written documentation or verification of the debt.
Verify the Legitimacy: If you receive a call or email from a debt collector, take the following steps to verify their legitimacy:
- Request written documentation and verification of the debt, including the original creditor’s name and the amount owed.
- Cross-reference the details provided with your own records or credit reports to ensure accuracy.
- Contact the original creditor directly to confirm if they have assigned or sold the debt to a collection agency.
- Look up the collection agency online to check for any reported scams or complaints.
Protect Your Personal Information: Never share sensitive personal information over the phone or via email unless you have independently verified the legitimacy of the debt collector. Legitimate debt collectors will already have access to the necessary information and should not require you to provide it again. Safeguard your social security number, bank account details, and credit card information to prevent identity theft or unauthorized access to your finances.
Understand Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a federal law that protects consumers from abusive debt collection practices. It outlines your rights as a debtor and restricts debt collectors’ actions. Educate yourself on the FDCPA to understand what is permissible and what crosses the line into illegal behavior. If a debt collector violates your rights, report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Take Action Against Scammers: If you suspect you have encountered a collection scam, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and others:
- Report the scam to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
- Contact your state attorney general’s office and local law enforcement to file a complaint.
- Warn others by sharing your experience on consumer protection websites and forums.
- Stay vigilant and educate your family and friends about collection scams to prevent them from falling victim.
Protecting yourself from collection scams requires awareness, caution, and a proactive approach. By recognizing the warning signs, verifying the legitimacy of debt collectors, safeguarding your personal information, and understanding your rights, you can minimize the risk of falling victim to these deceptive practices. Remember, never be rushed or coerced into making payments or sharing sensitive information. Stay informed, trust your instincts, and report any suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities. Together, we can combat collection scams and safeguard our financial well-being.
At Greenway Law Group, a bankruptcy law firm based in Birmingham, safeguarding our clients is our top priority. If you feel that you may be on the receiving end of a a scam collection call, do not give out any personal information, do not make a payment and hang up the phone. Contact us or clck here to schedule a free consultation. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.