How to Avoid Debt Collection Scams

Key questions can protect you from collection scammers

Andy Spears


Photo by Josefa nDiaz on Unsplash

Getting a call from a debt collector can be frustrating and even scary. Even if you think you owe a debt, it is important to take steps to protect yourself from scammers.

When a debt has been turned over to collections, it can have negative implications for your credit report — which can impact your ability to make a major purchase (think car or home) or even rent an apartment or get insurance.

Just because someone calls you about a debt — even one you think you owe — doesn’t mean they are legitimate.

The Better Business Bureau notes that any legitimate collector should be able to provide you some key information in writing. If they are not willing to put that information in writing and mail it to you, you should stop talking with that alleged collector.

Here’s what you should ask for:

  1. The amount of the original debt
  2. The name of the original creditor
  3. A statement of your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

If they can’t or won’t provide that information, they’re likely not a legitimate collector or don’t have a legitimate claim.

Debt Collectors in Your DMs?

What if a collector attempts to contact you via social media?

First, you have the right to tell collectors how they may contact you. Second, you shouldn’t accept friend requests from potential collectors. You can certainly block them or ask them not to contact you via social media. If they persist, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .