Debt Collection Deception – Debt Collectors Posing As Police Officers
Watch out for debt collection scams. One favorite technique is for debt collectors who pose as law enforcement officers. In some cases, they were threatening legal action, arrest, and physical violence.
Worse, I’ve heard of many situations where the person contacted actually didn’t owe any money at all. If you go on the internet, you can find all kinds of stories about how aggressive these characters are getting.
Just keep in mind – they are not cops – they’re just trying to scare you
They’re trying to scare you into giving them money. And people who don’t know any better are getting sucked in by this.
What you should do
First, know that what they are doing is illegal. More importantly, police officers do not do debt collection. They have other things to do.
If any kind of debt collector calls you, the first thing you should do is tell them that you do not deal with debt collectors – you only deal with the original creditor.
Then get their information – name, address and telephone number. And make sure you get their badge number and the telephone number at their precinct and ask them which precinct to make sure it’s local. (I can guarantee you they are unlikely to give it to you – which gives their scam away.)
Once you have their information, tell them not to contact you again.
Then hang up.
Do not get into a conversation with them. Do not answer any questions. If they try to harass you, repeat what you told them and hang up.
If they give you a badge number and precinct number, check the phone book (online or offline) and see if that precinct has that number. You can also do a reverse phone number lookup to check what shows up under that number.
Next, call your local police station and ask them if they have an officer with that badge number and phone number. If the information was bogus, you’ll know immediately.
If you’re really scared, call the police and complain.
You are not required to speak to them
There is no law that requires you to speak to these people. And you certainly do not have to put up with being abused or harassed by them.
Write down the date and time they called and the information. Then write a Cease and Desist letter to the collection agency telling them the same thing you told them on the phone – that you do not deal with collection agencies – and that they are not to contact you again.
Send it certified, return receipt requested.
Get Caller ID
If you don’t already have Caller ID, get it. Then, if they call again, you’ll know in advance and you can let the call go to voice mail. Then you don’t have to deal with them.
If they do call again, write down the date and time and any message (verbatim) that they left. Because, if they called you again after you told them to stop, you can sue them. They are liable for $1,000 for each call they make after you tell them to stop.
Don’t get scammed
The most important thing you can do is keep your head. People like this count on surprise to scare you and take advantage of you.
If you have to write something down and put it near the phone to remind you what to do – do that. After a couple of calls, you won’t get flustered and it’ll be a lot easier.
Whatever you do, do not roll over and play doormat. That is what they want you to do. Stick up for yourself. You were put in this position by blood-sucking, greedy companies who don’t give a rip about you.
Their bottom line is money – not you – and not anyone else – just money.
Don’t put up with it!
And don’t get taken in.
If you have been contacted by someone posing as a police officer, get as much information as you can. If you have Caller ID, you may also have their name or phone number, as well. Then contact your state’s Consumer Protection division in the Attorney General’s Office immediately.