Fake debt collectors will say anything that will scare you into paying them. Today, the FTC stopped imposters who pretended to be lawyers. They threatened people with lawsuits and jail time to collect debts that didn’t exist.
These imposters often used the names of real small businesses or names that were very similar to those of existing businesses. When these real businesses started receiving calls from people trying to reach the “debt collectors” or complaining about abusive practices, they realized that their businesses’ name was being used in a scam. So they filed complaints with the FTC.
Fake debt collectors try many tricks to get you to pay. This advice will help you handle debt collectors’ calls:
- If a debt collector says you owe a debt, before you agree to pay anything ask for a validation notice that says how much money you owe. By law, they have to send you a validation notice in writing, within five days of contacting you. If they don’t, that’s a sign that you’re dealing with a fake debt collector.
- If a debt collector threatens you with jail time, hang up the phone. They’re violating the law and you should report them to us.
- If you own a small business, it might be a good idea to research online occasionally to check if anyone else is using your business’ name. And if you start receiving complaints about practices that your business is not engaged in, let us know.