Debt collectors are hired by the original creditor, or person who is owed money, to collect the debt for them. Once a creditor hires a debt collector, all payments should be made to the debt collector and not the original creditor. However, before paying any debt collector you should obtain certain information from them about the debt and keep records of any communication with the debt collector or any payments made to them.
Before You Pay a Debt Collector
One of the newest ways scam artists have come up with to defraud consumers is the fake debt collector. Scammers call you claiming to be collecting on a debt and attempt to pressure you into paying it immediately, before you have the chance to discover that you do not really owe any money and the collection agency is not real. So, before you pay a collection agency, ask them to send you debt verification information, which should include the name of the original creditor and the amount owed. If you do not recognize the original creditor's name or believe the amount to be false, contact the creditor and ask what you owe them and why. If you recognize the creditor and the amount claimed as due is correct, be sure to make any payments to the debt collection agency in a form that provides you with proof of payment; do not expect the agency to provide you with a receipt, as many do not.
How to Pay a Debt Collector
The best way to pay a debt collector is by credit card on the collection agency's website. This will provide you with proof of payment via your credit card statement, ensure that you are the one entering all of the information so that the payment amount is correct, and provide you with more protection against the agency double charging than a debit card would give you. If you do not have a credit card or do not wish to use one to make the payment, the next best option is to mail the debt collection agency a check. Be sure to include a payment coupon with your check and/or write your account number on the check. Review your bank statements regularly until you see that the check has cleared in order to ensure that it was cashed and then call the debt collector to make sure that the payment was posted to the correct account. If you must pay using a debit card, make the payment on the agency's website to ensure the amount of the payment is entered correctly, and then keep an eye on your bank statements to ensure that your debit card is not charged again without your authorization. You should never pay a debt collector with a money order. There are too many ways for you to lose your money if your payment is lost or not applied to the correct account.
If a debt collector has misapplied your payment, double charged you, or abused you in any other way, please contact our office at 1-800-219-3577, for a free, no obligation consultation.