Recognizing debt collection scams and protecting oneself

People in Minnesota who find themselves in a tenuous situation with debt are frequently targets of con artists who portray themselves as debt collection agencies or individuals who are authorized to collect debts. These con artists are putting new technology to use with the internet in garnering information about potential targets. They utilize that information to appear credible and get money.

The way in which they do this is to contact a consumer and say that they're calling from a well-known credit card company or bank. They will say they want to receive payment for the credit card debt. Some people might believe it and send the money to the scammer without realizing that the money's not going to the credit card company but to the pocket of the scammer.

Ways in which a consumer can be safe is to understand the debt collection practices that companies are allowed to use under the law. Other ways include asking the caller for a professional license number and pertinent information about their business and requesting a validation notice. A legitimate debt collection company will provide this information and send a validation letter within five days. Another tactic is asking for the last four numbers of the debtor's Social Security number. By law, debt collectors are not allowed to answer this question.

Even with economic improvements across the country, many are still having issues with overwhelming debt. This can lead to mistakes when being asked to make payments by a debt collector. One such mistake is paying without verifying who is being paid and if they're really representing the creditors. They could very well be scammers. Seeking assistance from a legal professional who is experienced with debtor rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act can avoid being victimized in a scam.

Source: Consumer Reports, "Protect yourself from debt collection scams," Catherine Fredman, April 17, 2015

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Prescott Pearson & Tande, PA
443 Old Highway 8 Northwest, Suite 208
New Brighton, MN 55112

Toll Free: 888-366-0827
Phone: 651-968-8096
Fax: 651-633-7562
New Brighton Law Office Map