While the National Do Not Call Registry has proved highly beneficial in reducing the number of unwanted calls from solicitors and other unscrupulous parties, anyone who owns a smartphone or has a landline knows that it hasn't stopped all unwanted calls from getting through.
In case you don't believe it, consider recent reports have shown that more and more consumers are being bombarded with calls from fake debt collectors, meaning those calling about collecting on loans that were never taken out, loans that were settled long ago, or loans for which the callers never secured permission to collect from lenders.
Indeed, the problem has become so dire that the Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers to be on guard for these scammers, many of whom may be equipped with fraudulently obtained personal information designed to create the illusion of legitimacy.
As alarming as this is, the good news is that the FTC has provided consumers with some valuable information on the telltale signs of a fake debt collector:
- The debt collector rebuffs requests to supply contact information like a name, address, or telephone number.
- The debt collector is inquiring about payment on a loan that is entirely unfamiliar.
- The debt collector asks for personal information or other financially sensitive data.
- The debt collector exerts considerable pressure or resorts to overtly aggressive tactics (yelling, making threats of arrest, etc.) in an attempt to get you to pay.
The other piece of good news is that the FTC has also provided some simple steps that consumers can take to effectively turn the tables on callers that they believe to be fake debt collectors. We'll examine these in a future post.
In the meantime, if you have concerns about creditor harassment or other consumer protection concerns, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional committed to protecting your rights.