Fake Debt Collection Letters To Watch Out For

When you least expect it, you may find a surprise letter in your inbox. Perhaps you find an email message, or a collector calls to your phone number.

“We are this institution. You still owe us this amount of money. If you don’t pay it back by this time, you’ll be in serious trouble.”

That’s a message worth paying attention to. What do they want from you? What happens if you don’t listen?

“If you don’t want to deal with fines, levy, and jail time, you should give us your bank account or credit card number now.”

You can’t give your data to the first person that asks for it. But you neither can do nothing when dealing with such risks. What should you do?

About Fake Collector Letters

The catch is, Who sends the letter matters more than What they say. Pay $276.75? Who wants to make you believe so?

Sure, all collectors want you to pay fast, whether they’re legit or not. But scammers use urgency to make you act without thinking, so you don’t find out their real identity?

Who are they? Chances are you’re dealing with generic Internet scammers posing as debt collectors.

Now, if you’ve never owed money before, the message will sound outright suspicious. But if you talked to collectors in the past, chances are scammers get it wrong with the brand name. If you paid X to Company A, why would Company B contact you about remaining payments?

When it’s not a real letter, it’s a faulty warning designed to create a sense of fear and urgency. Those emotions work as a confidence trick: we know collectors can’t threaten with law enforcement, but if you’re scared enough, you won’t think clearly enough to see that conclusion.

4 Examples Of Collector Letters That Look Wrong

Here’s the matter: you got a letter with red words warning about your finances. The notice uses deliberately complex wording, so you make a quick scan instead. Long story short, you either pay or deal with enforcement agents.

Or do you?

Look closer: what con men do rarely is what real agencies do.  Con men will fake authority to get you into doing things you would not otherwise do.

#1 “Tax Processing Center”

“Dear John Doe,

The State of New York has attempted to retrieve your delinquent tax payments. Since you didn’t respond to our last notice, you must PAY IN FULL OR CALL (X Number) by the due date.

What Will Happen: Government agents will force you to repay the $12,444.00 in overdue taxes by levying your property. Unless you pay in full, the process won’t stop. We’ll also revoke your US Passport and Driver’s License.”

Source: mlive.com

What You Must Know About Tax Scams

What went wrong in this letter:

  • You don’t remember owning such an amount.
  • Your US documents have nothing to do with undue payments.
  • You didn’t get a previous notice, or if you did, you responded to it.

However, they urge you to call them rather than paying the amount. Because of the mentioned red flags, that toll-free number could lead to phone scams.

  • You call and talk to an agent who explains their procedure. However, they know nothing about the letter you received. They charge you for the call.
  • You call, and the agent confirms your debt. You give them your sensitive data and lose your identity.
  • You call, but nobody answers. You stay on an endless waiting line and get charged for those minutes.

#2 “Notice Of Law Enforcement”

“Total amount owed: £86.50 (Due by 11.11.2019)

YOU MUST PAY THE TOTAL AMOUNT YOU OWE. IF YOU DON’T PAY, WE HAVE COURT AUTHORITY TO REMOVE YOUR GOODS AND APPLY FEES AND COSTS.

This letter is your final opportunity to pay and prevent us from taking further action. By 11.11.2019, law enforcement will arrive at your property with a £235 fine plus goods seizure.

HOW TO PAY: Only Payment via Bank Transfer accepted.”

Source: examinerlive.co.uk

What went wrong in this letter:

  • Debt collectors don’t have court nor law enforcement authority.
  • You find no contact information to verify that you owe money.
  • They only accept wire/bank transfer, when collectors usually accept multiple methods.

You may pay, hoping to never hear of this warning again. Indeed, after you send the funds, the bogus collectors will forget about the issue and move onto the next victim.

#3 “Warrant Notification”

“Dear John Doe,

Court reports indicate there’s an outstanding case pending against you.

A WARRANT HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR YOUR ARREST. ANY PEACE OFFICER CAN SERVE THIS WARRANT AT ANY TIME.

Please, return your $239.20 payment immediately. If you’re a debtor who filed bankruptcy, provide us with that information in writing within 30 days.

PLEASE DO NOT IGNORE THIS NOTICE

You can only pay online by credit card at www.co.cameron.tx.us/jp/jp.html. No personal checks accepted.”

Source: turner.com

What went wrong in this letter:

  • Collectors can’t arrest debtors
  • One single payment method accepted
  • The URL shows no outstanding debt, or they lead you to a phishing site (not in this above case)

If you visit the official website, you find nothing. If you call the official number, they know nothing. If you call the phone shown in the letter, an agent will confirm your payment and ask for your bank information: Identity theft.

#4 “Debt Collection Specialists”

“Dear John Doe,

DDC has been instructed by our client who’s invoice is enclosed is enclosed to recover monies owed to them. We hereby without prejudice give you seven days from the date above to make payment.

Failure to make payment will result in a DDC agent visiting your premisis, who will incur an automatic £150 + vat added to your account.

To prevent the above action, our client offers a one of settlement offer, this offer is a reduction of 25% of the amount owed, however payment must be received within seven days of the date above.

You can pay the amount directly to our client bank account.

Sort code 09-01-28 Account Number 27660572

Or you can post a cheque to 83 Ducie Street Manchester M1 2JQ

DO NOT IGNORE THIS LETTER”

Source: aqueous-digital.co.uk

What went wrong in this letter:

  • Use of outdated, broken English with grammar misspellings
  • They can’t address law enforcement (haven’t we said that enough?)
  • They give you an arbitrary account number where to pay. 

Unless you contact their client, there’s no way to know who owns that account. You may be sending it to the debt collection con man. If you do owe money, their “client” would never receive it.

Putting It All Together

Unless you’re expecting the notice, that letter is likely a clever impersonation scam to make you wire money to a stranger. Avoid dealing with agencies who act suspicious:

  • They request sensitive information or data they should already know. They ask for data you already provided in previous notices.
  • A collector agency you never heard about has no reliable online history.
  • The collector will threaten the debtor with law enforcement claims.
  • They only offer a single payment method.

Know how to deal collection agency scams: think with logic, never in fear. Check who they are by asking for proof. You can always call directly to the official number if you can’t get out of doubt.

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