Phony debt collectors
MILWAUKEE - If you get a call from someone trying to collect a debt, think twice before releasing personal information or making a payment.
In the past few months, we have seen an increase in the number of people being targeted by phony debt collectors. Consumers report that they are receiving phone calls at home, on cell phones, and sometimes at work for debts that they may not owe. The caller is often aggressive, telling consumers that if they do not pay up, they will risk jail time, severe legal action, or other threats. To resolve the matter quickly, the caller asks them for banking and other personal information that is then used to scam consumers out of money that they may not owe.
If you get an aggressive phone call from someone trying to collect a debt, here is what you should and should not do:
Ask the caller to send proof of the debt. If they are unwilling to do so, watch out. This could be a telltale sign that this is a scam.
Tell the caller stop calling you. A legitimate caller will abide by this request.
Do not agree to pay a debt over the phone, and do not pay or agree to any terms until you have checked things out and can verify the debt and the collector from a legitimate source.
Never release banking or personal information by phone, no matter how aggressive the caller may be.
If you believe the call is a scam, contact consumer agencies so that they can warn others.
If the caller has threatened you or anyone else, contact police.
For more information about fair debt collection practices, go to www.ftc.gov.