With debt collection scams on the rise, legitimate collectors need to take extra steps to make sure they’re not being lumped in with illegal operations.

According to the Better Business Bureau, these types of scams can vary. In some instances, consumers receive calls stating that they need to pay money for a loan that they may have never had, or that they must pay a higher amount for an existing loan.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has also responded to the increase in debt collection scams. In its most recent update of the Ask CFPB website, the bureau addressed consumer questions about what to do if they suspect that a debt collector is illegitimate. You can read the CFPB’s answers to all consumer questions concerning debt collection in our newly updated report CFPB’s Advice to the Consumer.

Thankfully, there are steps debt collectors can take to stand out from the scammers.

  1. Have your information handy. Consumers can ask for your company’s name, street address and telephone number. This also includes being ready to send them a validation notice under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
  2. Make your calls count. Consumers are becoming more savvy, or at least more likely to sue, when it comes to what collectors can and can’t do on a phone call. Just because you’ve had a practice in place for years doesn’t mean it’s in compliance with the latest FDCPA and TCPA regulations. To the Point: Collection Call Compliance offers the latest legal thinking about proper communication with consumers. If you’re not taking advantage of this resource, you’re putting your agency at risk!
  3. Know your limits. Make sure the debt you’re calling about has not passed the state’s statute of limitations. Keep in mind that different kinds of debt often run on different timelines. Our new report Time is Running Out: Statute of Limitations for Debt Collection breaks down each state’s laws.

What does your company do to assure consumers they’re not being scammed? Let us know in the comments.

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