The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”) is a consumer-minded statute intended to protect debtors from the
abusive collection practices of debt collectors. If a
collector violates the FDCPA, the debtor has various means of
recourse under the law. Under the FDCPA collectors are
prohibited from using profane language or violence, making empty
threats, calling excessively, charging more for a debt than is
actually owed and implying they are attorneys or government
officials in an effort to intimidate a consumer into making
An important scam to be aware of is fake debt collectors.
A scam debt collector will violate virtually every section of
FDCPA. The reason is because if you tried to search for
this company in order to serve them a complaint under the FDCPA,
you won’t find them. If you are able to get a company name
out of them, it likely is a made up name. If you get an
address out of them, chances are the address is a UPS
store. If you give them your bank account information
your money will be taken for a debt you likely don’t even
owe. Moreover, you will see on your bank statement that the
payee is not the same name as the people who called you.
When trying to determine the legitimacy
of a collector or agency who is
contacting you, the first rule of thumb is to never give out
your personal information. They may even have your social
security number and address. Chances are they obtained it
from a pay day loan operation that may have been used. Still,
don’t be fooled by them knowing who you are. Additionally, a
legitimate collector should be able to provide you with the name
and address of both the collection agency and the original creditor
and the amount you owe. A collector is obligated by law to
have this information on hand for you and either failure or refusal
to provide it is usually a red flag that the collection is a
Scam collectors never send out collection letters.
Should you have suspicions that a collector is a fake collection
agency, demand that they send you something in writing, on
letterhead, describing the debt, to whom it is owed, and the exact
balance. A fake debt collector will likely refuse this.
Or, they may send you an e-mail or a letter on a letterhead that
does not have any location information or office address.
A fake collector will be overly aggressive. They will
threaten to send you to jail, take your home or seize your assets,
all to collect a payment. Make sure to never hand over a
credit card or bank account number. We have written a few
other articles in our blog on this issue, and they can be found at:
Debt Collectors Shut Down By Feds and What Do I Do Now.
If you are being contacted by a debt collector or feel your
rights have been violated in anyway under the FDCPA contact
SmithMarco P.C. for a free case