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Fight Phantom Debt with Debt Validation

Adam J Krohn / Posted: 2012-11-26 12:00 am
With the increased number of debt collectors, there are also an increased number of scams perpetuated by people claiming to be debt collectors seeking to collect on debts. Some fraudulent debt collectors have attempted to collect on debts that no longer exist or never existed in the first place. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) provides certain protections and mechanisms to help defuse these unethical and aggressive debt collectors.

These types of debts are known as “phantom debts.” Consumers have no obligation to pay these debts though they sometimes do because when the debt collector misrepresents a debt that has been paid or fraudulently try to collect on a debt that never existed. These debt collectors use fraudulent and abusive tactics in order to pressure consumers to pay.

Some consumers who had applied for short-term loans through payday lenders have become victims of a phantom debt-collection scam. The perpetrators of this scam claim to be debt collectors and have managed to convince victims to pay money that they never owed in the first place or have already repaid. 

There are certain FDCPA rules you just must know that debt collectors cannot break. In order to pressure consumers to pay on these phantom debts the operators of the scam have pretended to be law enforcement or government authorities and have threatened to arrest and send to jail any consumer who refused to make a payment on a delinquent payday loan. Other tactics included threatening to file lawsuits and to call consumer’s employer resulting in the consumer getting fired.

Additionally, consumers have received harassing phone calls at work. Other victims have reported being called dozens of times an hour. Some consumers have been so embarrassed by these phone calls that they pay what is asked just to make the calls stop even when they do not owe any money.

These tactics are fraudulent and prohibited under the FDCPA and consumers should know that debts are not collected by law enforcement officers for private parties. To determine whether a debt is valid consumers have the right to have debt collector verify the consumers debt through debt validation under FDCPA § 809. A consumer has thirty days from the first date the debt collectors makes contact to request debt validation. After that the debt collector has thirty days to provide proof that it owns the debt or has been assigned to collect the debt from the original creditor. 

If no proof is provided then the debt collector cannot continue to collect from the consumer. Consumers should note that verbal confirmation is not enough and the request should be for written proof. Additionally, consumers can stop collectors from calling by sending a written letter requesting them not to call the consumer under FDCPA § 805(c)

Moreover, a debt collector may be civilly liable for failing to comply with the FDCPA by partaking in abusive practices. Particularly under § 813(a)(1) of the FDCPA, the legislature has explicitly provided for statutory damages.

We understand the frustration you may have when dealing with an aggressive debt collector, particularly if this is your first time being pursued. We have been successfully representing those abused and taken advantage of by debt collectors for years, and have a long list of successful stories to share with you. We offer a FREE CASE REVIEW for you to assess whether we can assist you with your matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us toll free at 1-800-875-3666 if you prefer to talk to a trained professional over the phone instead, or of course, visit our website at
Tags : Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Fdcpa

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