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BBB: Beware of debt collection scams

Posted at 9:23 AM, Apr 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-03 11:23:18-04
Dealing with debt can be complicated. Add endless, threatening phone calls and it becomes a major source of stress. But the Better Business Bureau warns debt collection scams are reaching some Idahoans.
 
BBB's Emily Valla says in the latest version, you receive an automated call from a company claiming to be collecting payment for a cash advance. The recording prompts you to stay on the line and speak to an agent.
 
"These calls often turn threatening. The 'agent' will request you pay your debt immediately using a wire transfer or prepaid debit card. If you refuse, the 'debt collector' will try to intimidate you. Don’t give in. In most cases, the alleged cash advance doesn't exist and the phony collection agent doesn’t have any legal power," Valla said.
 
If you think a debt might be real, BBB says know your rights.
 
"Ask the debt collector to provide official 'validation notice' of the debt. In the U.S., debt collectors are required by law to provide the information in writing. The notice must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor and a statement of your rights. If the self-proclaimed collector won't provide the information, hang up," Valla said.
 
If you know you don't have outstanding debt but keep getting the phone calls, Valla also says just hang up the phone. BBB recommends keeping an eye on your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.
 
And for more information, visit www.bbb.org.