Dealing with Fraudulent Debt Collectors

Knowing your rights and responsibilities as consumers can ease the stress you feel when collectors come calling.  Even if you don't owe a debt some scam collectors may try to convince you that you should pay them.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is the nation's consumer protection agency and warns consumers to be alert to scam artists who may be posing as debt collectors. 

All legitimate collectors should be able to provide a validation notice.  This notice must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor you owe and your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  If they refuse to provide this information, this debt may not be legitimately yours.

Ask for ID.  Anyone calling you to discuss any debts owed should provide their name, company, street address and telephone number. 

Don't give personal financial information.  Never provide personal financial information like your bank account, credit card or Social Security number unless you are absolutely certain you are speaking with a legitimate caller.  Scammers can use this information to compromise your identity and obtain credit in your name. 

Report Fraud.  If you receive suspicious calls, notify the FTC and the Virginia State Attorney General's offices with the information you collect. 

To learn more about fake debt collectors, visit www.consumer.ftc.gov for more information on how to protect yourself from fraudulent practices.