Consumers Beware: Tips for Identifying a Debt Collection Scam

Dec 02, 2010, 13:31 ET from ACA International

MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The collection of duly owed consumer debt is vital to maintaining a strong national, state and community economy.  

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101018/ACALOGO)

"The fulfillment of a consumer's personal responsibility to pay for a product or service they have agreed to use is vital to helping businesses from Main Street to Wall Street survive," said ACA International Chief Operating Officer Ted Smith, CAE.  "Every business day, professional debt collectors are contacting millions of consumers to recover legitimate debts."

In the event a consumer has been contacted and believes it is a scam or has been the victim of a scam, ACA International offers these helpful tips:

  • Debt collectors must identify themselves and the collection agency they represent when contacting a consumer to attempt to collect a debt.
  • Debt collectors must send you a letter confirming the name of the creditor and should reference a specific account and basic information about the debt owed.
  • Talk to the debt collector to verify the debt and resolve the situation, but be cautious when disclosing any personal information. Do not provide or confirm your Social Security number, any bank account, credit card or other personal information until you have confirmed the legitimacy of the collector.
  • A legitimate debt collector should never harass, use vulgarities or threaten to have you arrested.
  • Check if the caller is from a debt collection agency that is a member of ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, at www.acainternational.org.
  • If you believe you have been a victim of a debt collection or financial scam, place a fraud alert on your credit file with the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian) and regularly monitor your credit report for unusual activity.  In addition, contact your state attorney general.

"Consumers have important rights when working with a debt collector, which is why we created www.AskDoctorDebt.com as a valuable consumer-focused educational resource on debt collection," Smith said. "With the multitude of scams and misleading or false information easily available at the click of a mouse, the aim of www.AskDoctorDebt.com is to provide consumers with a tool they can trust without fear of gimmicks or being ripped off."

A project of the non-profit ACA International Education Foundation, www.AskDoctorDebt.com is available in both English and Spanish. Visitors are not asked to register, provide any personal information or required to pay to use www.AskDoctorDebt.com.

ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, is the comprehensive, knowledge–based resource for success in the credit and collection industry. Founded in 1939, ACA brings together more than 5,000 members worldwide, including third–party collection agencies, asset buyers, attorneys, creditors and vendor affiliates. ACA International establishes ethical standards; produces a wide variety of products services and publications; and articulates the value of the credit and collection industry to businesses, policymakers and consumers.

Contact: Mark Schiffman, PR Director

Tel. (952) 928-8000 ext. 124 or Schiffman@acainternational.org

SOURCE ACA International



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