September 6 2017

Scam Debt Collectors Impersonate Law Firms to Scare Victims


If you are behind on some payments you may get a call from the company that owns the debt but you may also be the target of a scam.

The Federal Trade Commission is warning of a newly reported scam that has criminals pretending to be lawyers to scare people into paying.

“Getting a call from a debt collector can be stressful but it can be downright frightening when the caller uses lies, profanity and threats to try to get you to pay.”

The FTC says the “collectors” used a variety of names to make people think they were dealing with a law firm. The imposters told people they were delinquent on a payday loan or other debt and threatened them with arrest, jail time, or getting sued unless they paid by credit or debit card over the phone.

Sometimes, the callers had personal information, like Social Security and bank account numbers, or relatives’ names. The callers used this information to convince people that the calls were legitimate.

In truth, the FTC says, the defendants pressured people into paying debts they never owed.

“You can’t be arrested for not paying your bills,” the warning states. “If a debt collector calls about a debt – and before you agree to pay anything – ask for a written proof that says how much money you owe and to who, and what to do if you don’t think you owe the money. By law, debt collectors have to send you a written document, called a validation notice, within five days after they first contact you. If they don’t, that’s a warning sign that they may not be legitimate.”


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