Better Business Bureau of Central New England has received several reports from local consumers reporting contact from dishonest callers claiming to be collecting outstanding debts. A common scam, victims receive calls demanding immediate payment or request for personal financial information, failure to comply may results in threats of arrest, jail time, garnished wages or calls to your family or employer. BBB wants locals to know the red flags of this scam and their rights when it comes to debt collection practices.
“The calls are often threatening in nature and request immediate action,” said Nancy B. Cahalen, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central New England. “The callers don’t know if you actually owe a debt, but they hope that the threat of serious consequences will be enough to take action without investigating the matter. This is a huge red flag, any legitimate caller should give you time to review and follow up.” Typically you will receive a call claiming to be collecting overdue payments. When you start to press for more details or perhaps deny the debt the caller becomes aggressive and hostile. Despite the threats, the callers do not have any power to have you arrested or to enforce any other consequence. In many cases, the overdue bills do not exist. Even if you do owe debts, there are rules that all debt collectors must follow.
BBB has tips to deal with intimidating phone calls. The best protection against debt collection scams is simply knowing your rights. Here's a quick overview.