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Scam Collectors – Caution – You DON’T want to Pay!

Be Aware of Scam Collectors!

Some people will do “whatever it takes” to make a dollar.  An example are scam collectors.  Usually making money requires an infallible work ethic, a tenacious drive to succeed, and the ability to overcome short term failures.  Further, there is nothing inherently wrong with being driven and working hard to succeed.  Unfortunately, doing “whatever it takes” sometimes looks different from person to person.  For some, “whatever it takes” can mean preying on those who are already in a bad spot.  For others, it may include scamming consumers.

In the era of a depressed economy, debt collection has become a multi-billion dollar industry.  Many of these collectors employ illegally aggressive and harassing techniques to collect on debts.  It’s a despicable behavior, and in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a Federal law enacted to protect consumer’s rights.

Even worse are the scam debt collectors that employ hyper-aggressive tactics to collect fake debts.  Perhaps you have encountered these phone calls before.  The tactics are all very similar.  The collector claims to a special investigator, detective, or representative of a law enforcement agency.  They demand payment, allege negative tax consequences, imprisonment or arrest if you do not make a payment “RIGHT NOW“!

These scam collectors have become so prevalent that the Washington Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) issued an alert on these scam collectors.  “Consumers should be on high alert when receiving a collection call about a debt if the consumer has any question about the validity of the debt,” the DFI said in its press release.  “Scam collectors have claimed to be from law offices, the FBI, and other law enforcement and governmental agencies.”

These scam collectors are criminals!  While debt collection is often a legitimate enterprise there are no legitimate means to collect a fake debt.  Certain types of collection calls should immediately raise red flags.  If the “agency” is unwilling to provide written validation of the debt – it may be a scam collector. If the “agency” is unwilling to disclose their mailing address or location, there is a high probability you are dealing with a scam collector.  If so, the call is probably not even coming from a real company and should immediately be disconnected.

If you ever receive a threatening phone call such as the ones referenced above from a scam collector, make sure to ask for a validation of the debt.  A legitimate collector will have to provide one to comply with the FDCPA.  A scam collector will most likely refuse.  If you are concerned that you are being targeted by a scam collector, or worry that the actions taken by a legitimate collector fall beyond the bounds of the law, make sure to contact a consumer protection attorney.  We can work to protect your rights and can often get you compensated if your rights were violated.

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