Contacted By a Debt Collector? Proceed with Caution
From the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
Consumers who fall behind on credit card payments or other bills sometimes hear from a debt collector. But people who don’t even owe any money may find themselves contacted by a debt collector…or someone who falsely claims to be one. Here are key points to know.
If a third-party collector (not your original lender) contacts you about a debt you owe, federal law requires you to be treated fairly and without harassment.
If you are contacted about a debt owed by a deceased relative, be careful. You may not have any legal obligation to pay these debts. Don’t send any more until you verify these claims.
Be aware that con artists sometimes pose as debt collectors. They may even claim to be from the government, including law enforcement, when attempting to collect on a non-existent debt. Warning signs include a caller who is unwilling to provide written proof of a debt (the amount of the debt and the name of the creditor you owe), who won’t provide a mailing address, or who threatens jail or violence.