The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers of a new debt collection scam. It involves a supposed debt collector informing you that a civil complaint has been filed against you- and scammers are doing an excellent job of making it seem real. They may rattle off specific details, such as the amount of the debt, a complaint case number and a phone number where you can follow up. If you end up calling that number, another phony representative will inform you of the same. To avoid a pending lawsuit you must pay up immediately via wire transfer or prepaid debt card, the scammer says.
Consumers can protect themselves from scams like this by knowing their rights.
- Hang up: If you know that you do not have any outstanding loans, hang up. Do not press any numbers or speak to an “agent.”
- Ask to be provided with an official “validation notice” of the debt: Debt collectors are required by law to provide this information in writing. The notice must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor and a statement of your rights. If the person calling you will not provide that information, hang up immediately.
- Ask for the details: Get the caller’s name, company, street address, and telephone number. Confirm the collection agency is real.
- Do not provide any personal information: Until you have verified the call, do not provide or confirm bank account, credit card or other personal information over the phone.
- Check your credit report: Check with one of the three national credit reporting agencies (i.e. – Equifax, TransUnion, Experian) to determine if you have any outstanding debts or there has been any suspicious activity on your accounts.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit report: If the scammer has personal information, place a fraud alert with the three national credit reporting companies. And to report a scam you can always go to the BBB Scam Tracker.
If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all 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.