Know Your Rights

BBB Warns Consumers About Recent Debt Collection Scam

The Better Business Bureau ("BBB") has recently received numerous complaints from consumers stating they have received debt collection calls from collectors representing themselves as the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI").  Specifically, the complaints state that debtors have been receiving calls with the caller i.d. showing "Federal Investigations Department".  Consumers most often answer the phone believing the call to be coming from the FBI and the caller on the line represents him or herself to be an FBI agent calling to collect a debt for an overdue payday loan. 

The truth is, you may actually have a past due payday loan but the caller does not work for the FBI and he or she is out to collect much more than the balance due and much more than what you actually owe.  The FBI agent/collector is a common scam meant to intimidate debtors into making payment out of fear.  This fictitious agent/collector will set up payment by wire transfer or a pre-paid debt card and when debtor states the amount owed seems unreasonably high, the collector will threaten legal action and jail time to coerce you into making payment.  To most debtors, this seems real and frightening, especially when the caller has your personal information, including full name, address, place of employment and social security number. 

Despite your fear, these fictitious FBI agents have no control over you, cannot sue you and cannot send you to jail.  In the event you receive a collection call from one of these scam artists, try to remain calm and in control.  First and foremost, DO NOT pay the collector any money.  Wire transfers and prepaid debit cards are the same as cash and once the money is handed over it is as good as gone.  Second, hang up on the collector and do not call back.  The longer you stay on the line with a scam collector the more they intimidate you and the more personal information you are bound to disclose, which will eventually be used against you.  If you find you are unable to hang up on the collector, ask for written validation of the debt or an initial collection letter.  Knowing your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") will always protect you.  You are entitled to written proof of the debt and without that proof you are not required to make payment.  If the collector refuses to provide you with proof of the debt in writing, the collector has essentially waived the red flag that the call is a scam and you need not make payment.  Lastly, if the caller represented him or herself as an FBI agent, make sure to report the impersonation to the police. 

If you are having problems with a debt collector contacting you and need the advice of assistance of counsel, contact SmithMarco P.C. for a free case review.

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