Our society is infested with inauthentic debt collectors. Phony collectors pretend to be collecting a debt, though they have no right to do so, no connection to the creditor, and may not even be located anywhere close to America. Fake agents of collection agencies call debtors in the hope of collecting payments on either real or imagined debts. The methods they usually adopt are questionable and leave much to be desired in the form of language and legality.
Debt collectors call from any corner of the world and pretend to be living in the United States. These calls are often made from toll-free numbers, making it appear that they come from the numbers that are typically obtained by agencies which outsource their calling. Another malignant practice these calling centers follow is to use Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) to mask their numbers. VOIP gives them the ease of choosing a number with an area code that matches the consumer’s, or a nearby area code, making them appear more legitimate.
These callers have a typical pattern in their calls. They target scared consumers, then make every effort to make those frightened consumers commit the money over the phone, either through Western Union or Money Gram, both of which are money transfer entities. They may even attempt to get a consumer’s bank details, after which they typically sweep that bank account clean.
A 2010 Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
consumer complaint report has recorded 119,364 complaints about third-party and in-house debt collectors. Among these complaints, fake debt collector calls make up a sizable chunk. Fake debt collection calls are usually made for one of three reasons. They are mistaken identity, zombie debt
, or simple fraud.
There are certain techniques that these debt collectors follow that give rise to a doubt about their credentials. Usually these callers quote a big amount as the alleged debt. However, being phony or frauds they will agree to settle for a very small amount. They usually call during the second half of a Friday, when a savvy consumer who detects the fraud would not have enough time to register his complaint with any government agency that closes for weekend.
Since these are usually bogus calls about non-existent debts, the information given by the bogus callers is based on lies. Typical lies include possession of the victim’s personal information or social security number, or the statement that the caller is an attorney. The phony collectors' harassment is very specific, designed to last only a short time, because they want to make money quickly and exit. Often, if a potential victim tries to call back, she will realize that they no longer exist.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces strict guidelines to stop phony debt collector harassment
through a federal statute called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
. If you are facing phony debt collector harassment you should engage an attorney who is well versed in the FDCPA. You may contact Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center ®
, which has qualified FDCPA attorneys. These attorneys have helped thousands of victims of debt collection violations