Debt collection scams are scary. The Better Business Bureau says they remain a persistent problem because they work. Let's make sure they don't work on you.
Scammers are always switching things up in order to catch you off-guard. Here's the latest twist.
According to a Washington state government watchdog, consumers are contacted by folks "claiming to collect debts" by companies with the words, "'Cash Advance' in their names." The Better Business Bureau tells Fox 5 news that if you get an automated call and you hear "cash advance" - and a cash advance debt makes no sense to you - hang up! If you don't, the BBB says the trend is that you can expect to be threatened with arrest and lawsuits for a debt you don't owe.
But let's say you might owe a debt from unpaid cash advance from days gone by.
Fair enough, but let's talk about red flags that would indicate this is not a legit debt collection call.
Here are three questions to ask to suss out pretty quickly if you're being scammed.
3 QUESTIONS TO ASK
What's the company's name, address and phone number
What's my name and address
What are my last four SSN digits?
First, ask them who they are. Their name, address and phone number. A real debt collector will give you that. All of it. If your caller won't, hang up. If they do give you something that could be accurate, move on to question two.
Ask who they are trying to reach. If it's you and not just anybody who picks up, they'll know your name. Ask them to give you your address, too. See if they know it. If they give you wrong information or partial information, don't correct them because you'll be filling in the blanks for them.
Still not sure if it's real? Try this: Ask them to tell you your last four digits of your social security number. If they give it to you, well, that's a big 'no no.' According to the FTC, a legit group isn't supposed to answer this per the Debt Collection Practices Act. So if they do, that's a red flag.