How can you verify whether or not a debt collector is legitimate? Below are a few warning signs that signal a debt collection scam:
- The debt collector threatens you. Legitimate debt collectors probably won’t claim that they will have you arrested or claim that they or their employee are law enforcement officers.
- The debt collector refuses to give you information about your debt or trying to collect a debt you do not recognize.
- The debt collector refuses to give a mailing address or phone number.
- The debt collector asks you for sensitive personal financial information.
Tell the caller that you refuse to discuss any debt until you get a written “validation notice.” This notice must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor, and a description of certain rights under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
For additional information and to learn more on debt collection practices, click here.
- Ask students to draft a sample complaint letter explaining that the debt is not legitimate and demanding the debt collector stop contacting you.
- Ask students to compile a list of governmental and nongovernmental agencies where consumers can send debt collection complaints.
- Do all states require debt collectors to be licensed?
- If the debt collector is licensed in your state and he/she is not acting properly, what are your remedies?
- Who enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and how this law protects consumers?