Better Business Bureau Serving Acadiana is alerting consumers that fake debt collectors are calling people with claims that they or their loved ones owe payments on a loan.
According to reports received by BBB, scammers use threats of lawsuits, property seizure or jail time to intimidate victims into paying money they do not owe.
How the Scam Works:
Consumers receive a phone call at work, home or on a mobile device. The caller says that he or she works on behalf of a loan company. They then claim to be collecting overdue payments taken out by your family member or significant other.
If consumers say they do not owe the debt, the caller threatens that you or a loved one will be arrested and/or face other consequences, such as a suspended driver's license, loss of property or job loss.
Despite the threats, these "debt collectors" don't have any power over you or anyone else. In most cases, the alleged overdue loan doesn't even exist. Even if your loved one does owe money, paying the scammers won't help reduce the debt. Below is advice on how to deal with these intimidating calls.
What to Do if You Receive a Harassing Call From a Debt Collector:
Start with Trust® Check with BBB if you believe you have been contacted by a fake debt collector.
Ask the debt collector to provide official "validation notice" of the debt. Debt collectors are required by law to provide the information in writing. The notice must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor and a statement of your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If a debt collector won't provide the information, hang up.
If you think that a caller may be a fake, ask for his name, company, street address, and telephone number. Then, confirm that the collection agency is real.
Do not provide or confirm any bank account, credit card or other personal information over the phone until you have verified the call.
Check your credit report for by going to annualcreditreport.com. This will help you determine if you have outstanding debts or if there has been suspicious activity under your name.
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission if the caller uses threats. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt collections from being abusive, unfair or deceptive.