#10 Collection Letters/Phone Calls Fraud
Calls that we receive from collection agencies tend to evoke one of two emotions: fear or confusion. You will undoubtedly dread these calls when you owe money to any corporation, but you might be baffled if you actually don’t have overdue payments to any business. Criminals will do anything these days to make a dollar, and they sometimes pretend to be debt collectors.
What Questions Can You Ask to Expose a Fake Debt Collector?
The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers to keep a watchful ear out for fraudulent debt collectors when they call. Here are a few things that you can ask to expose who they truly are.
1. What is the name, address, and phone number of the company you are calling from? Any authorized debt collector would willingly hand over this information as they are required to do so by law.
2. What is the name and address of the defaulter you are trying to contact? Any legitimate debt collectors will know exactly who they are trying to contact and should have no issue coming up with the correct information. On the other hand, a fraudulent debt collector will either be trying to get this information out of you to later use it to steal your identity or they will not have this information and will try to get you to pay a debt that does not exist.
If the caller tries to give you the information that you just asked them for but it’s slightly off, assume they are not legitimate and under no circumstances should you correct them. Ask them to send a verification letter to the address they have on file and let them know you will respond accordingly once the letter is received.
3. What are the last four digits of the debtor’s Social Security number? A legitimate debt collector will never answer this question because if they do, they would be violating Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Some may claim that they don’t have this information but look for you to confirm but be wary of what information you share while trying to confirm the identity of the person on the other line.
If the person calling passes the test and appears to be legitimate, their call could point to another, even greater problem – someone could have opened accounts in your name that the caller is looking to collect on.
Either way, to protect yourself, never discuss debt amounts on the phone. Instead, ask the caller to send you a validation notice to the address they have on file. Do not confirm an address with them because they may be seeking more information from you.
Credit monitoring will not alert you to this type of fraud.
LibertyID will take the following steps for/with their members:
- Contact impacted creditor/businesses where the victim’s information was misused and have the fraudulent accounts closed and note the presence of identity theft.
- Place fraud alerts at all three credit reporting agencies.
- Place credit freezes at all three credit reporting agencies, if appropriate.
- File report with FTC.
- If their identity theft involved the use of your driver’s license number, Social Security Number, or another type of identification, will we contact the relevant agencies to notify them of the theft.
- Review credit reports with the victim to ensure there is no other types of fraud.
- Provide single bureau credit monitoring with alerts for 12 months.
- LibertyID will ensure that the restoration is completed with the victim.
- Periodically contact the member throughout the 12 months following resolution of their ID theft recovery case, if warranted.