Sound scary? For lots of Americans, it is. These harassing, threatening calls can get perfectly rational people to pay debts they are certain they do not owe. “It was worth it just to stop the calls” a client recently told me.
You will know a Phantom Debt Collector when they call because they are short on details and long on threats. They spoof their phone number and company name to prevent Caller ID from showing who they really are. They don’t have details on what you owe or why you owe it, but demand payment immediately or any number of bad things are going to happen to you.
– If a debt collector tells you they are going to issue a warrant, have you arrested, or get the local Sheriff to show up at your work, they are not a legitimate debt collector. These are all violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
– If they want you to pay by Western Union, Green Dot, etc., they are probably not a legitimate debt collector. Real debt collectors can take debit/credit cards as well as phone checks.
– If they are evasive about their company name, location, phone number, etc., they are probably not a legitimate debt collector.
– If they hang up on you when you say you are going to check the BBB to make sure they are legitimate, they are probably a Phantom Debt Collector.
BOTTOM LINE – Do NOT pay a debt collector if they threaten you and/or you are not sure of the debt. Request more information in writing, check with the BBB or even call an attorney. Legitimate debt collectors will provide you with information to show that the debt is real , they will not threaten you.