When I receive a call from someone claiming to be a collection agency, I write down the information they are claiming I owe. Then I ask them to send it to me in the mail. This simple act alone eliminates a lot of scammers. They do not want to risk sending something via US Postal service because that can trace back to them and add Mail Fraud to their charges.

To add something that was already said, the cc company does not have to inform you, but whoever bought it can also resell it. We have one debt that we have been disputing the amount for almost 5 years. The cell phone company wrote it off and there is now a 3 company trying to collect. I have sent certified letters to the cell phone company and to the first collector explaining that we are willing to pay what we owe, but that amounts to less than 50% of what they claim we owe.

You can send a letter (certified return receipt) to the collection agency instructing them to ONLY communicate with you in writing. I think a sample letter, along with a listing of your rights as a debtor) or posted on the group web site. You can also check them out at the Better Business Bureau online. Hope that helps!

I wouldn’t mind talking/negotiating with the right party. I am concerned, however, that I cannot be sure who it is that is really on the other end, whether phone or mail. If my credit card company has written off the account and sold it to a third party, shouldn’t they let me know who it is?

As far as I understand it, the CC company doesn’t have to tell you but when I contacted the CC company about collectors who contacted me, the CC would tell me who they sold the account to. I then contacted the BBB then sent the certified letters. I am working with a DMP and they were also able to verify the legitimacy of the collection agencies and work out payment plans with them.

I’m new to the blog and have several questions, however, I’d like to start with my concerns regarding illegitimate collection calls and letters. As we live in a time of overt identity and information theft, I suspect that there are people who would use this information to extort money from unwitting debtors. As they are not legitimate, they would not care what the collection laws actually are, but would use intimidation and threats that legitimate collectors are forbidden to use.

I am also concerned of phishing operations that would try and get information from us in order to do the above collection scam. In addition, it is relatively easy to make a call with a fake (spoof) Caller Id number that looks like it is from Citibank, Chase, American Express or the IRS. All of this combined has me somewhat perplexed as to how to respond to the creditor calls I receive.

So far, I ignore them. I don’t think this will work in the long run.

Any shared concern or enlightenment would be appreciated.