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Beware of Debt-Collection Scams

Don’t be the next victim of a debt-collection scam! Here’s all you need to know about these scams:

HOW THE SCAMS PLAY OUT
In a debt-collection scam, a caller claiming to represent a debt-collection agency demands immediate payment for an alleged outstanding debt. The caller insists on specific means of payment and may threaten to tell the victim’s friends about the unpaid debt. The alleged debt may be completely fabricated, or the scammer has hacked the victim’s accounts to learn of its existence. In either scenario, the caller does not represent the creditor and will pocket any “collected” money.

These scams can also take the form of abusive debt collection, in which a caller collects money for a legitimate debt, but does so using abusive and illegal practices.

HOW TO SPOT A DEBT-COLLECTION SCAM

  • You might be looking at a scam if an alleged debt collector does any of the following:

  • Withholds information about the debt and the creditor

  • Threatens the debtor with jail time

  • Insists on specific means of payment

  • Asks to be provided with personal financial information

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
When outstanding debts go unpaid, a lender can legally sell the debt to a collection agency. The agency can then attempt to collect the debt through letters and phone calls.

According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) , debt collectors cannot:

  • Contact borrowers at unreasonable hours.

  • Call borrowers at their workplace if the borrower said they cannot accept phone calls at work.

  • Harass borrowers about a debt, including using threats of violence and calling the debtor multiple times each day.

  • Engage in unfair collection practices.

  • Lie about the money owed.

  • Falsely represent themselves.

  • Threaten the debtor with jail time.

  • Falsify the name of the agency they represent.

PROTECT YOURSELF
If you’re unsure of whether you are being targeted by a debt-collection scam, ask the caller for a callback number and to confirm information about the debt. The collector should know the amount owed and be able to tell you the name of the company behind the debt.

If you still believe you are being scammed, contact the creditor and ask if the debt collection has been outsourced to another company.

If you’ve been targeted by an illegitimate debt collector, report the scam at ftc.gov/complaint. If a falsified debt appears on your credit report, you will need to dispute the charge as well.

If a collection agency is employing abusive tactics or if you’d like them to stop calling you, it’s best to send them a letter asking them to cease all contact. Once the agency has received the letter, they can only reach out to you to confirm there will be no further contact, or to inform you of a specific action they are taking.

If you are having trouble meeting your financial obligations, we can help! Call 330-364-8874, click here, or stop by DoverPhila Federal Credit Union to speak to our on-staff financial counselor. The service is confidential and free to members.

Scams are on the rise and take many forms. DoverPhila would never call or text to ask for your account and debit card information. If you receive an unexpected call or a text from someone claiming to be from DoverPhila, please ask questions to verify that it is a representative. If you are unsure, call us at 330-364-8874 to confirm. Learn more at our Fraud Resource page. Learn more>>

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