In today’s economy, debt burdens are rising and so are the number of debt collection or debt relief scams. For many unsuspecting consumers, becoming victim to the hands of a scam artist over their debts is a growing problem. Luckily, the Federal Trade Commission is working hard to prevent such abuses, prosecute violators and educate consumers on how to spot a debt collection or debt relief scam.
Learn The Signs
Although debt collection calls are often dodged by those owing money and severely in debt, many are also finding that they are being pursued illegally for debts. Whether that be over a debt that was once discharged in a prior bankruptcy case, a debt liability that was assigned to them illegally or simply a debt that is being pursued after a death or divorce. The FTC is urging consumers to follow these steps when being pursued by a debt collector:
- Request written verification of the debt from the collection agency.
- Contact the original account owner, or lender, to verify the collection agency is truthfully representing their interests.
- Negotiate debts with the original account owner, or lender, whenever possible.
If debt collection actions continue, or you cannot negotiate with your lender directly, it may be a good idea to seek counsel from a Dayton bankruptcy attorney. They can implement an automatic stay order to halt collections while you work to resolve your debt liabilities.
As for debt relief agencies, they are a dime a dozen. The problem is that there are too many in operation to thoroughly regulate, which the FTC is working to resolve. In the meantime, the FTC wants consumers to be wary of any agency that:
- Requires upfront payment for services.
- Attempts to “sell” you on one type of debt relief, such as consolidation.
- Discourages communication between you and your lender.
- Insists on being your mediator for payments and other financial debt transactions.
It is important that you know these warning signs and avoid any situation that seems “too good to be true”. Seek help with a professional when dealing with debt relief, such as an attorney. If you suspect you have been victim of, or know an agency that may be operating with ill intentions, contact the FTC at: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/