Archive for the ‘Collection Agency’ Category

How to tell if a debt collector is real or a scammer

Posted on: September 1st, 2018 by eHall

How to Tell if a Collector is Real or a Scammer

Real debt collectors are jerks, but they are typically trained so as to avoid liability.  They do not make the obvious mistakes of claiming cops are on the way, immigration is coming, if you don’t pay right now you are going to jail, etc.  They take pains to explain the call is recorded and follow scripts that they sound very bored reading and read very fast.  Typically, if you look up the collector online, they will have a business location, business license, and many online reviews saying many negative things.

A scammer will bring high pressure to a whole new level and everything is immediate.  They say things like if you don’t pay in the next five minutes we will come to your door, we are waiting outside of your work right now to come in an embarrass you, you are going to jail.

Some scammers will try to adopt the procedures of a real collector and will even try to spoof the phone number, name, business address, and make a fake website.  Some impersonate law offices.

The way to handle a scammer is to tell them go ahead and file whatever they are going to file.  This is the one thing they can’t do as they are not legitimate and do not have a real attorney who can file pleadings.  If it is real and they do file, you have a chance to defend yourself.

Additionally, there is some investigation you can do to verify:

  1. Check the Washington Corporation Search Page to see if they are real
  2. Check the Washington License Search Page for a Collector’s License
  3. Do an internet search for the name of the entity they claim to represent.  Compare if there are different sites with different URL’s and contact information.  This is a sign of fraud as scammers will spoof real collection agencies and collection law firms.
  4. Do a map search and reduce the view down to street level.  Often times scammers will put a fake map marker on a parking garage or generic building.  Call neighboring business’s in the claimed park to see if they know its legitimate.  Scammers do not go to work daily or maintain offices normally.
  5. Do an internet search and see if others report them as scammers.  Ripoffreport and other such sites usually have decent intel on what the deal is.
  6. Special Note: Unlicensed pay day lenders are prohibited from collecting against Washington residents.  Do a search on the WA Department of Financial Institution site.  If a lender is unlicensed, the lender may not collect from you.

Scammers are persistent and good at their job of scaring you.  Just be calm, rational, do your investigation, and dare them to file something.  Scammers do not file court pleadings normally and if they do you will have an opportunity to counter sue them.