How do I tell if a debt collector is legitimate or a scam?
A legitimate debt collector should be able to tell you their company name and mailing address, as well as information about the debt they say you owe.
The debt collector should provide information about themselves and their collection agency. This can be a helpful way to know more about the debt, as well as tell whether or not it’s a scam.
To verify a debt collector, ask them to provide:
- Their name
- Company name
- Company street address
- Telephone number
- Professional license number, if your state licenses debt collectors
To help you verify this information, you can find out more information about the collector though your and state regulator.
Warning signs of a debt collection scam
Here are a few red flags signaling a debt collection call could be a scam:
- The debt collector threatens you with criminal charges. There are only a few circumstances when a debt can lead to an arrest. Legitimate debt collectors should not claim that they'll have you arrested.
- The debt collector refuses to give you information about your debt or is trying to collect a debt you don’t recognize. Debt collectors are generally required to provide you information in the initial communication or within five days of the initial communication. You can also use to request more information and an explanation in writing before you pay.
- The debt collector refuses to give you a mailing address or phone number.
- The debt collector asks you for your personal financial information. You should never provide anyone with your personal financial information unless you are sure they're legitimate.
If you have an issue with debt collection, you can submit a complaint to the CFPB.