The Federal Trade Commission recently issued a Consumer Alert, which cautioned about scam artists who are posing as debt collectors.
The FTC warns that when a person asks you for your personal financial information, or any other sensitive information, use caution. Some scam artists also apply high pressure tactics in order to attempt to obtain this information, including threatening to have you arrested or to refer your case to law enforcement. Once you are frightened into giving the scam artist your personal information, they will use it to wipe out your checking account, post fake charges to your credit cards, steal your identity, and more.
If you believe you are being contacted by a fake debt collector, ask for the caller's contact information. In addition, ask for a written "validation notice", which they are required to send you under federal law. A validation notice will include a creditor's name, debt amount, and your rights under the FDCPA.
Do not give out any other personal or other sensitive information, such as your bank account information, your Social Security number, your credit card number, or your date of birth to anyone that you aren't sure is legitimate.
If you believe the person to whom you are speaking is a scam artist, stop speaking. If you think the debt about which they are contacting you is valid, contact the creditor and find out which collection agency the creditor has authorized to contact you.
Unfortunately, scam artists often like to take advantage of people in precarious situations, such as those who have gotten behind on their bills.
If you believe a scam artist is contacting you, or if you think a real debt collector is calling you in violation of the FDCPA, contact California debt collection attorney Paul Mankin at 800-654-9517.