Nobody is ever excited to hear from debt collectors, but when scammers pretending to be debt collectors call, it’s even more unnerving. Often scammers will have personal information about you to make them sound legitimate. That amplifies the situation from unnerving to downright scary. The following tips will help to protect you and your accounts from further compromise.
Be aware of the activity on your accounts
In the same way self-defense classes teach women to be aware of their surroundings to prevent attacks, account holders should be aware of the activity on their accounts. If you have a department store credit card that you never use and suddenly you begin receiving debt recovery phone calls about that account, you know immediately that something is awry. If, however, you use it occasionally but can’t remember if you paid off the balance, you are much more vulnerable to falling for the scam.
Never give (or confirm) identification information over the phone
It is one thing if you call your credit card company for customer assistance, it is something else entirely if an unknown caller dials your number and asks for your Social Security number or bank account PIN over the phone. Scarier still are the scammers who already have your information and simply ask you to confirm it. Under those circumstances, ask them to present written documentation of the debt instead. If they make threats and tell you to pay immediately, red flags should raise in your mind.
Ask for written documentation
As mentioned in the previous section, ask for everything in writing. Not only does it give you a paper trail of communications, but also collectors are required by law to show written documentation of a debt. If they cannot or are unwilling to do so, they are operating outside the perimeter of the law.
Check your credit report
You can also learn a great deal by checking your credit report for errors. This simple tip can protect you from more than just debt collection scams, it can also protect you from other fraudulent activities like identity theft. If checking your credit report reveals expenditures you didn’t make, you need to take action immediately. Knowing what’s on your credit report also keeps you apprised of which accounts are current and which are past due should a scammer call you.
If you feel you are being scammed or that your accounts have been otherwise compromised, place fraud alerts on the related accounts to let lenders know what is happening. This places them on higher alert so they will inform you of any suspicious or unusual activity. Additionally, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission if you feel you are being harassed.
Debt collection is our business. We understand the legislation and the techniques required to recover your debt effectively without harassing debtors or breaking the law. Our collection rate is competitive and contingent. You don’t pay if we don’t collect. Protect yourself and let us work for you.