How To Expose A Collection Agency Scam

Debt collectors are in the business of collecting on your debts. Debt collectors have to employ pressure tactics to get people to make their payments so they can close their account and be paid for their time and their services.

While the majority of collectors collect unpaid accounts in a morally responsible way, there are fishy techniques that some of these companies use to get people to pay up, and to pay up now. In fact, some are not actually run by legit companies.

Fake collection agencies are far more common than you might think. 

Fake Collector Or Real Issue?

It’s too easy to impersonate a high position. The moment you get that phone call, anybody could get fearful and defensive. Who would want to argue with such an “official collector“?

In the United States, the IRS cannot ask for money on the spot. Neither will they call you when out of the blue. They may call you after sending you an official mail notice or by being in contact for months via mail.

Collection agency scams try to scare victims about debt, so they obediently give them their money. In this confidence trick, the fraudster disguises as an employee.

What happens if you don’t do what they say? There’s no guarantee their threats are real. But if you don’t follow their game, they will threaten you with even higher penalties. Better to pay up?

According to law XYZ, you need to pay $X today to cover all your outstanding financial issues. If you don’t, you must provide your credentials, so we can contact you and solve the problem. If you pay this week, we will forgive 20% of your debt.

That sounds like a good deal, no?

Impersonation scams are common. Keep in mind that if the first point of contact was through telephone or via an online method, it’s probably a scammer.

TIP: Ask them to identify themselves and the bureau they are working for. Then hang up and find their official website and contact them back through a phone number that you obtained on that website. And verify if there is really something wrong through this official channel.

Detect The Scam: Things A Legit Agency Will Never Do

If a fake collector calls you, it wouldn’t surprise us if you fell for it. Statistics show at least eight of every ten Americans are in debt. Even if you never got a collector’s call before, most people would expect it. Scammers have a high chance of contacting the right victim.

But there are six things a real collecting agency won’t ever do, no matter how much you owe.

Reach-out Method

According to the IRS themselves, online messaging is unreliable for tax collection. They may use it but only as a follow-up method.

The official procedure is mail communication. Long after they inform you, they may phone call if you didn’t reach back to them.

Any collection agency reaching out via email or phone is a fraud.

Urgent Warning Tone

Yes, tax collectors want you to pay as soon as possible. Possibly today. But they can’t force you to do it.

Fraudulent agencies request payment the same day they call you. They make sure the idea of not doing it today scares you enough.

Collection agencies shouldn’t be that aggressive with their clients. They know you weren’t expecting the call. What makes them think you have the money ready at that moment?

There are months since you get the collector’s notice until the deposit. Not a few minutes on the phone.

Harassment

They certainly won’t reward you for delaying payments. But they neither can force consequences when you don’t pay.

A responsible taxpayer knows that not paying is an expensive mistake. In the call, however, the fraudster tries to scare you with future problems, not inform.

It may not be good to avoid taxes, but it’s neither correct to threaten taxpayers. The moment it happens, the collector has no credibility. Harassment is illegal: real agencies won’t do it.

It doesn’t matter if they mention the police, the IRS, or the court. Collectors can’t use other institutions to force a response.

Frequent Notices

Legit collectors call at convenient times to merely inform, not chase the taxpayer. A scammer won’t respect business hours, so they can call you on any day of the week at, say, 7 PM.

Agencies could call a few times a week, never too often. If the frequency is abusive, you consider it harassment.

No Collector ID

You feel abused by this collector, who is constantly after you. He calls every day and doesn’t let you breathe. Ironically, you don’t know who this person is.

When authorities reach out, they start by introducing their position and verify it. They can show an emblem, give you a phone number, or show their credentials and ID.

A scammer reaches out with a vague description. “We’re the IRS” or the “National Taxation Office.” Where’s the identification? Nowhere.

Another catch is the way they talk about the problem. They won’t let you breathe, not ask a single question. You’re the criminal who must give them answers.

When you suspect, it’s your right to verify them. Ask for credentials and phone numbers to verify them. Don’t listen until you can verify them.

Restricted Payment Method

Collectors want your money no matter how you pay. Although they recommend specific methods, they don’t impose them as long as you pay.

How about fraudulent agencies? They do the opposite. You won’t “cover your debt” until you pay using their instructions. Typically, it’s any method with no refund policies.

As a fun test you can ask them if they accept Western Union. This method of payment is one of the scammers favorite as it can be abused fairly easily. No real agency will accept it and if they do, you know they are pretenders.

A Fake Debt Call Example

One of the most common collection scams is for the creditor to actually tell you that they are going to take you to court or have you arrested if you do not make a payment.

A creditor can call you and ask for payment, but under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act a creditor is never allowed to threaten or take you to court, to sue you, or have you arrested.

If someone does use this scare tactic refuse to deal with them. Let them know that you know what the laws are. Here is an example:

How To Verify Real Collectors And Expose Scammers

What if a fake collector has been calling you this whole time? If you ever get on a call like that, ask identification questions.

  • What is the name, address, and phone number of the company you’re calling from?
  • What is the name and address of the debtor you’re trying to reach?
  • What are the last four digits of the debtor’s Social Security number?

Get their credentials before getting into the topic. Some agencies have toll-free employee verification phone numbers.

Avoid Collection Agency Fraud

A common collection scam happens when a company buys old debts from a bank or creditor for the sole purpose of committing debt fraud. The company then looks someone up, calls them, and then starts demanding payment.

If someone calls you and cannot verify your personal information for you, you should assume it is a scam. Remember not to offer your information to them, but to have them give it to you and also verify where the original debt came from and if they are authorized to claim that debt.

Know that different imposters may try and reach out to you. If they have your contact number, they may call your friends or family for the same issue. How do you stop them from calling again?

Block the Contact

Once you know the collector is fraudulent, remove the contact. You can block the number on the phone. If it’s an email, mark it as spam to avoid showing future messages.

Ask Questions

You don’t need to follow instructions if you don’t know who is messaging you. Interrogate the collector before they interrogate you. They are reaching out without you expecting it. They owe you an explanation!

Verify and Verify Again

What if a real collector is contacting you? If you get a notice about pending debt, it’s good to be ready. Organize the documents and prepare the funds — just don’t hurry to provide them.

If a matter needs your attention, you’ll hear about it. Many times. A scammer who wants you to pay today may not follow up if you reject it. But a real institution will explain the case and go after it until they contact you.

Don’t Ignore Regular Mail

Have you received collection notices before? If they reach out to you for the first time online, it’s the sign of a scam. Any message you get usually refers to the original letter they sent you.

Avoid complications and follow the official format only: mail. Scammers can reach via mail as well, but it does not happen as often.

Wrapping It Up

Remember that most collectors who are calling you are not trying to scam you, they are simply trying to do their job. Unfortunately for you though, their job is to get their money back from you and this isn’t always a pleasant experience, especially when you don’t have the money to pay.

Just remember that you can’t get blood from a stone, and if you can’t make a payment you don’t need to give in to pressure tactics. Remember that under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that you have rights too.

If a case is urgent, you’ll find evidence. Verify everything before trusting a collection agency.

You can report debt imposters fraud here:

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Mike
Mike

If you get an unwanted collection call, simply ask them to please hold and DO NOT hang the phone up…simply put the phone down on the counter and walk away. This ties their line up until you hang the phone up. Believe me, after you do this several times…they will get the message and stop calling you. It is really important to NOT NOT NOT give them ANY information about yourself…after all, they are calling you and they should already have your information if the debt is legit. In the mean time, enjoy the silence of your phone not ringing… Read more »

Wenona Lekas
Wenona Lekas

Hi Sergey,We took a peak at your account and yes, you are on one of Aplus.net’s premium, annual packages. For the annual packages, customer’s receive the discounted price since they are agreeing to a full 12 months. This is why we could not cancel your service as you had signed up for the annual plan. Our customer service reps have reached out to you so should you have any questions, they are here to help you.

Jeff
Jeff

What do I do if they have called me and threatened that that day they were serving me papers and told me I had to set up a payment plan right then or be served. I was at work and getting looks fro mmy boss so I didnt pay attention too much to what they were saying (I know, this is my fault) but set up a payment on one of my prepaid cards… what should I do now because upon looking up this company, all i get is bad reports, scam warnings, etc…

thanks!

Lauri Brinkman
Lauri Brinkman

Oh my goodness, me and my husband started getting calls at our home and at my husbands work… saying we have an outstanding balance with a payday loan and if we do not pay $645.35 they are forwarding it to the federal business investigation and they were going to show up at my husbands work and have him arrested. I talked with the attorney general and they say just ignore, but the calls are every 10 minutes. He even went as far to say, you just wait and see what Monday brings you it will be bad. Very clearly not… Read more »

Bren
Bren

union filing services/portfolio investment service in corna ca is a collection agency scam DO NOT GIVE THESE PEOPLE MONEY if u have call your bank, local police department, get a lawyer, im seeking one also jc christiansen is a scam

Thomas A. Williams
Thomas A. Williams

I am reading these posts and I feel like such a sucker and victim. I recently receive calls from such nefarious scammers. They stated they were going to open a warrant out for my arrest, and was going to call my employer, and have them arrested too. I was under extreme pressure from their highly belligerent behavior over the phone. They all had foreign accents, with American names. Names like David Parker, Dominick Turnado stating they are working for some Lawyer/Collection Agency. The phone #’s they called from was 518 621 2694, 714 441 8691, these are fake #’s that… Read more »

tina
tina

I had an american speaking guy were all me by the name of Michael Klein from worldwide assets 7168333733. He said I had a open act with cash advanced network refused to give me their phone #number said they wldnt want to deal with ms anyways and I was gonna have to pay over 1000me for a 200 loan. He had all my info ss# name he faxed me a letter with the original creditor on it with his address and his bank info ( cause he wanted me to do a bank to bank transfer even gave me bank… Read more »

Dawn
Dawn

Recently (Today) I get a 504 area code and 904 from a “James Anderson” from orange county f.l.a.p.d Telling me unfortunately I cannot tell you this serious matter over a voicemail so its very important you call me back right now. I called and again hearing a (indian accent) and alot of other people talking all at once. He’s telling me that I owe $1500 and I need to get it paid if I didn’t that the police will drag me to jail. I hung up since Ive been through this with them already. They called me back and told… Read more »

Dawn
Dawn

The same thing happened with meto while back and now it’s happening again, but now worse!. Got a call about being sued for $300 and thought it was true b/c I had took out a payday loan but had paid it off right away. So at first I was confused. What through me off was that the loan wasn’t the same name as the one I had taken out. The man gave me the date of when they had “deposited this money into my account” I called my bank and they confirmed I had never had a deposit. They kept… Read more »

amber
amber

Ok so I have received calls from this “david jones” who was a complete jerk. I don’t have paydays lones. They had my email address and the last 4 of my social. As if that’s not scary enough they call again and again and again. They have heavy accents. Very heavy I had to listen very closely to make sure that I was hearing them right. Charges, jail time, I’m a criminal. Here’s the truely funny part they tried to give me my acct # and they gave me my daughters prepaid debt account. Ummm hello not even close bud.… Read more »

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