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How to Expose Fake Debt Collectors

Perhaps many of us have received a suspicious “debt-collection” call, often from a phone number we do not recognize. We may answer anyway, only for a robot or unfamiliar voice to claim that we owe an unpaid debt of hundreds of even thousands of dollars, and that there will be consequences if it is not paid. Before even considering a response, we may wonder – rightfully so – whether the call is legitimate or a scam.Debt-collection scams may be more common than we think; even the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) now actively warns American consumers of individuals and entities which falsely impersonate debt-collectors. Some even threaten individuals with jail time and other legal action for phony debts, while others have posed as large debt-collection firms to extort millions of dollars from consumers nationwide.Such scammers are often caught and rarely maintain their practices for long, but this should not suggest that they are not skilled at what they do. They are searching for the valuable bits and pieces of your information, such as bank/credit card information or digits of your Social Security number, to steal your identity and access your finances.Under the Fair Debt Collections Practice Act (FDCPA), legitimate debt-collectors may not call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., so calls beyond these hours are immediate indicators of suspicious activity. If you have reasonable suspicion that supposed debt-collectors are fake, here are three key questions to expose them:1) What are the name, address, and phone number of the company you are calling from?Any legitimate debt-collector will be more than willing to provide this information, and this should be the first question you ask. Fake collectors, of course, cannot answer adequately without revealing their own identity, which would immediately invite its own legal consequences. Even if they do answer, you should request that they send a “validation notice,” which is required to be sent to you within the first five days of initial communication.2) What are the name and address of the debtor you are trying to reach?Real debt-collectors know exactly who they are trying to reach. If a supposed debt-collector cannot tell you (the supposed debtor) your own name an address, this is an immediate red flag. They are also obligated to inform you of the amount of a debt and the creditor to which it is owed, so they are not real collectors if they lack this information.3) What are the final four digits of the debtor’s Social Security Number?This is something of a trick-question to throw off scammers. Real debt-collectors cannot legally answer this question, as it violates the FDCPA. Fake collectors, however, may attempt to answer it or provide an excuse for why they do not have the number.Ultimately, there is one key thing to remember: legitimate debt-collectors are required by federal law to truthfully answer any questions you may have. Asking these questions clearly, but also politely, will easily separate the legitimate businesses from the scammers and catch off-guard anyone who may attempt to steal your personal information.If you continue to receive calls from someone you have deemed to be a fake debt-collector, it is best to ignore them. Under the FDCPA, real debt-collectors may be required to cease attempts to contact you if you request in writing that they do so, and most will oblige; fake collectors, on the other hand, likely will not even have an address to provide for such a request!Ongoing suspicious debt-collection calls may be reported to the Federal Trade Commission for further investigation and potential legal action in the future.If you are being harassed over a debt, you may be entitled to money damages. Get up to $1,000 for harassment, and $500 – $1,500 for illegal robocalls. Under various state and federal laws, we will help you based on a fee-shift provision and/or a contingency fee. This means the collector pays your attorney’s fees and costs and you won’t pay us a penny. We have settled thousands of debt-collection harassment cases; let us help you today. Contact Mike Agruss Law at (888)-572-0176 to stop the harassment once and for all.

Submitted Comments

9 years ago
A Mark Pryor keeps calling me on my cell and work number stating that he trying to collect a debt from me, but will not tell me what it is for. I tried telling them to send me documentation on the debt and who is the company that he is collecting for. But I have not gotten any information.
9 years ago
I have gotten calls from 704-954-8872 from Lola telling me she has a package that needs delivered to me and needs verification. Then today 7-23-2015 the same number called me at work and said the same. I said i cannot get calls at work then hung up. They immediately called back and tried speaking to me again. I repeated myself and hung up. They called a third time and asked for the hr department. I said please stop calling and hung up. Fourth time within 15 minutes this time was someone different calling and i said please stop harassing me. Then i hung do i stop this?
8 years ago
Mike: I haven't needed your services in a long while. I received a call from a debt collector who states his name is Shawn Grant from Hoffman and Stokes in Herndon , VA. @ 703-774-3997. I have the recorded call with the usual rhetoric, looking for Mitchell Tucker. I was trying to send them a cease and desist communication but I am unable to find their firms address. This is the first call in a long while from them. But once they start they just keep calling. I was hoping you can nip this in the bud now. Thanks for your time and attention.
Tonnie B.
8 years ago
I have been contacted by Ad Astra and threatened with jail time and I had one of the collectors cuss me saying I was a low life. Ad Astra has also called me repeatedly from unavailable or anonymous phone numbers after I asked them to stop. Thank you for taking the time to assist me.
8 years ago
Northeastern Asset has repeatedly called me since approximately mid-November. They recently called my sister who lives 3 hours away and with a different last name as me to try to talk to me. They told my sister I provided her phone number as a reference, which I did not. When I called them back about this, they said that the original creditor provided phone numbers to them. When I called the original creditor to ask about this, they said they only provide name, address, account #, balance, and phone numbers (only mine, no one else's). They also have been calling my new work number. I started with this new employer in June 2015. They claim I provided this number to them, but I never did. When I told them that neither I or the original creditor provided my sister's phone number or my work number, they said it was me who provided it. They called me on Friday demanding payment again. I told them that I could not pay $400/mo for the next 6 months, but if they could work with me to reduce the amount or extend out the installments, I could possibly pay. The person I spoke with, "Chris Jones", said that since I was "refusing" to pay, he would close out the file and send it to my county judge to sue me for judgement. I pointed out to him that I was not refusing, but rather asking for other options. He became very rude with me and hung up on me after telling me that I refused to make payment and would be hearing from my county judge soon. They lied about how they obtained my sister's phone number. They lied about they obtained my new work phone number. When I called the original creditor, they told me they sold the account to them in October 2015. I started getting phone calls at work approximately early November 2015. They are harrassing and threatening me to make a payment that I have repeatedly told them is not within my budget to pay and if they would provide additional options, I can determine what I can pay, but they have now said I am refusing to pay and will turn me over to my county for judgement. I don't feel this is fair or ethical treatment.
8 years ago
I got a call from this number saying they were collections for my title loan and that when i paod it my title would be released and i can get it back...i went to the BMV this morning and they said i still have payments but i paid it off already...this company pretended to be the collections agency and they scammed me...can you help?

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