While a call from a legitimate debt collection agency might not be particularly pleasant, one with a scammer can be downright dangerous to your financial health. Learn how to spot a fake and what to do to avoid being ripped off.

The caller makes blatant threats

If the caller is making false accusations, using abusive language and leveling lawsuit and arrest threats, they might not be legitimate. Real debt collection agencies know your rights, and theirs, and aren't as likely to resign themselves to blatant threats when there are legal actions they can take.

The payment process is sketchy at best

Got a debt collection agency screaming in your ear about immediate payment? How about demanding your credit card number over the phone? Don't give in. A legitimate debt collection agency should have a reasonable payment process in place, including the ability to set up a payment plan, as well as accept multiple forms of payment.

You don't recognize the debt

You have the right to inquire about your debt when you're contacted by a debt collection agency. If your caller can't answer basic questions like who you owe, what you owe, what date your debt began, etc. then it's likely they're just a fraud looking for an easy target.

They can't provide proof

Ask the caller for written confirmation of the debt. A real debt collection agency is required by law to provide such, but a scammer will try to either avoid your request or lie to you about your rights.

The caller can't give you basic information

Ask the caller for detailed information on the debtor they're trying to collect from - meaning you. Better yet, ask the caller for their own contact information. If they refuse to provide that, hang up immediately.

The caller actually asks for your information

As much as you might not want to hear this, a legitimate debt collection agency knows everything about you and your debt by the time they're calling. A fake will ask for your personal financial information in hopes that they can scare you into letting them even deeper into your identity and your pockets.

You spotted a fake. Now what?

The first step should be to simply ignore any calls from a fake debt collection agency. They'll often move along to another innocent victim quickly. If they don't and you still suspect you're being scammed, contact me.

Even if you have legitimate debt, it doesn't mean a debt collection agency or anyone else can violate your rights. Contact James Eason online or at (314) 932-1066.