Debt collection calls can be unpleasant enough, but now consumers have to worry about whether or not they are being scammed by a so-called debt collector. Unfortunately, more con artists across the nation are contacting consumers, using personal information to trick them into paying debts they do not owe. Most recently, a company going by the name of ACS Incorporation Collection has been using false emails and names to try and trick people into paying debts. According to the BBB, the company currently has more than 1,200 complaints against it with the BBB of West Florida. For many, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a legitimate collection agency and a scammer.
Fortunately, there are some “red flags” that separate the phony debt collectors from the real ones.
Violent and Abusive Tactics
Debt scammers tend to use abusive tactics and extreme methods of harassment to scare consumers into providing personal information or making an immediate payment. Scammers often use blatant threats such as a lawsuit or arrest.
Lack of Credentials
Scammers will be quick to take your information, but reluctant to give you theirs. If the caller refuses to give you a physical address, mailing address or the full name of their company, beware. Legitimate collection agencies will readily provide this information up front.
Extreme Sense of Urgency
Another tell-tale sign that you are speaking to a scammer is if they demand payment “today” without exception. While most debt collectors would rather you pay as soon as possible, scammers tend to insist that same day payment is absolutely necessary.
Limited Payment Options
If the supposed “debt collector” does not accept multiple forms of payment, you should be concerned. Legitimate collection agencies typically accept a variety of payments including over the phone, online, with a debit card or through the mail. Scammers tend to insist on one form of payment, which is often with a credit card right then and there.
A con-artist may already have your personal information via identity theft or your credit report. This will make them appear believable when they cite debts you may actually owe. Be especially cautious of a caller who hastily volunteers all of your information to you in an effort to gain trust.
Lack of Debt Verification
A real debt collector should be able to verify basic information about your debt, including the date of default, amount of principle vs. interest, account name and account number. If the caller cannot verify this and refers you to your original creditor for further information, beware. Real collection agencies would never refer you back to your original creditor.
Amateur Phone System
If you were to call the number back and an individual answered the phone immediately, this is an indicator that it may be a scammer. Legitimate collection agencies often have a complex phone system or a receptionist to route your call appropriately.
Single Point of Contact
If you speak with the same person repeatedly, there is a good chance they are working for themselves as a scammer. Legitimate debt collection agencies tend to employ many collection agents and any one of them should be able to handle your file accordingly.
If you are in a financial crisis and are considering filing bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.