California consumers can protect themselves against debt collection scams if they follow a few simple safety precautions.A lot of California consumers panic when they receive debt collection calls – especially when debt collectors call unexpectedly. Unfortunately, this is exactly what scammers posing as debt collection agents want you to do. These fraudsters try to throw California residents off and scare them into paying money or sharing personal information before they realize that the debt collector is a phony. Sadly, these scams frequently work. And, when they do, targeted consumers either lose cash, become identity theft victims or both. Luckily, there are ways to spot debt collection scams. However, it is sometimes hard for California consumers to tell the difference between a fake debt collector and an abusive one.

How Fake Debt Collection Agents Scam California Consumers

Sometimes scammers pose as debt collectors simply to collect illegal payments and nothing else. Yet, sometimes their goals go beyond a simple cash grab. More ambitious scammers may try to get Social Security numbers or banking account information from California consumers. Then, they take this data and use it to commit identity theft. These fraudsters drain bank accounts and set up bogus credit card accounts, causing both financial trauma and harm to credit scores.

Identity thieves who have already stolen sensitive information are also known to pull debt collection scams. They use hijacked data to make themselves seem more legitimate. For example, a targeted Californian may get a call from a fake debt collector about a Visa credit card. This consumer has a Visa credit card, and may actually owe money on this account. The scammer knows this because they stole this information – they may even have the credit card number.

It is difficult for California consumers to avoid deception when well-armed identity thieves pose as debt collectors. Yet, there are ways to spot the phonies. Also, if they break certain rules of engagement, even real debt collectors violate the law. So, be on guard against any debt collection agent, legitimate or phony, who takes certain actions.

How California Consumers Can Spot Debt Collection Scams or Abusive Debt Collectors

When California consumers receive calls from individuals who introduce themselves as debt collectors, here are some red flags to look out for.

Threats and Abusive Language

Scammers often take an overly aggressive approach when posing as debt collection agents. They do this to intimidate their victims into paying quickly. So, if a debt collector yells at you, uses abusive language, or threatens to have you arrested, this may indicate a scam. Of course, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits real debt collectors from doing these things too.

A Demand for Immediate Payment

Scammers don’t want to spend time with their California victims. They typically work in volume, getting as much as they can from as many people as possible. Therefore, if you get a call from a fake debt collector, they will likely insist on immediate payment. In fact, they may threaten you with a lawsuit if you don’t pay up by the end of the day. All California consumers should note that real debt collectors usually don’t do this. Instead, they normally offer debtors payment plans, or they just keep calling until you agree to an arrangement. In addition, legitimate debt collectors may not make threats that they cannot keep, such as filing an immediate lawsuit. If they do make these types of threats, they violate the FDCPA and break the law.

A Refusal for Basic Information

Licensed debt collectors readily reveal the names of their companies and their physical addresses when asked. If they don’t, they violate the FDCPA. Scammers, on the other hand, may shamelessly refuse to give out this information. Or, if you suspect a debt collector is fake and they do provide contact information, check it out online before giving them money or information. You may discover that their so-called “contact information” is completely made up.

Too Many Questions

Finally, if a debt collector asks you a lot of questions about your account or the status of this account, this is a huge red flag. California debt collectors have all or most of your relevant information already. Besides, you should always ask for information instead of providing when dealing with debt collectors. This is the only way to ensure that A) you are working with a real debt collection agent and B) the debt in question is correct and actually yours.

How California Consumers Should Deal with Abusive Debt Collectors

Again, even if you get a call from a real debt collector and you actually owe money, they may not take certain tactics. The FDCPA prohibits debt collection agents from using harsh language with you or making threats that they can’t carry out. California debt collectors are also not allowed to call at all hours or discuss your debt with co-workers, neighbors, or family members.

If, however, you experience any of this abuse, or if a debt collector makes you uncomfortable in any way, contact Credit Repair Lawyers of America in California. Instead of handling the situation yourself, allow an experienced FDCPA attorney from our firm to make the harassment stop – for free. In addition, if we file a successful action against an FDCPA violating debt collector, you may receive damages.

Stop Debt Collector Harassment in California

Don’t put up with abusive debt collectors. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been ending debt collector harassment and cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in cases that are settled. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.

Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (855) 956-2089 or sending him a message through our contact page.

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