With all of the holiday spending becoming a distant memory, it can be hard for consumers to keep accurate records about finances. Sleazy fake debt collectors are taking advantage of this vulnerability and using it to their advantage. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau warns consumers not to let their guard down in the new year when it comes to getting calls from supposed “debt collectors.”
Fake debt collectors use a variety of official sounding names like “US Dept of Justice,” “Criminal Bureau of Identity” and other phone names. They will never reveal their real names and addresses, as many are believed to be operating out of their garages or overseas in India. They typically pretend to be lawyers, cops or investigators.
The worst part about these scammers is the type of harassment and scare tactics they use, threatening people with arrest for ‘fraud’ or other crimes. They scare and confuse people with meaningless legal phrases such as “We are filing an affidavit against you.” They almost always call people’s work and tell supervisors that “Your employee has committed fraud and is going to be arrested.”
Last week we received a call from a frantic young mother with a sick child, who was about to race out the door to her husband’s work due to one of these fake ‘arrest’ calls. She was in tears thinking her husband was going to be put in jail. Of course, there was never any arrest and no one showed up. We advised this mother that the best strategy for dealing with these sleazy liars is:
1. Advise the caller you know he is no creditor of yours and that he is never going to get a dime out of you. You want the sleaze to know that you are not going to fall for any of his lies, or pay him anything.
2. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov and one with your state’s Attorney General.
3. Hang up the phone.
We see this type of sleazy behavior by debt collectors every day. The harassment of consumers is growing every year, and people need to know that they have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This federal consumer law prevents debt collectors from using abusive, unfair or deceptive practices. If a debt collector is found to be in violation, the law (“FDCPA”) allows you to sue the collector, stop the calls and get paid damages (up to $1,000) plus all of your attorney costs are covered. We represent you for free. We fight the debt collectors that wish to harass and intimidate consumers. The consumer walks away with a measure of justice and a check from the debt collector.
If you have been victimized by a debt collector or have items on your credit report that are incorrect, call or email Attorney Gary Nitzkin at [email protected] for a free consultation at (888) 293-2882.