Is that caller a debt collector or a scammer?

PHOENIX - From unknown phone numbers to the demands for money, it's easy to confuse a debt collection call with a scammer trying to take advantage.

ABC15 viewer Jason let me know his mom is having a hard time telling the difference after getting calls from a collections company, that she says refuses to answer their questions.

He writes, "they never leave a message" and "we never got a written validation from them."  
Jason wants to know "are they true or a scam medical debt collector?"

By law, consumers are entitled to a validation notice within five days of contact.

Unfortunately, there's really no one to enforce that rule. So here's how you check them out:

First, find out exactly who they are. Get the company's name, address, phone number, email--everything.

Go directly to the company they say you owe. They should have a record of how much the debt is, what it is for and whether or not you are really in collections.

Get a copy of credit reports. Check to see if the creditor is listed. 

You can get all three for free from annualcreditreport.com.

If it's on there, call the company number listed on the report to verify the collection agency.

It you can't find the debt using these tools the debt has likely already been paid off or it doesn't really exist. 

Remember you have protections against legitimate collection agencies:

-No collector can contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. 
-They can't threaten arrest 
-They have to stop calling once you ask them in writing.

Still having problems? File a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General's Office and let me know.

 

Print this article Back to Top

What is Let Joe Know?

Let Joe Know protects YOU the consumer. We expose scams and hold businesses accountable for their contracts and agreements. Most important, we share consumer red flags before they hit your wallet!

ABC15's Let Joe Know reports air every weekday during ABC15 News at 6pm. You can also find them here and on the Let Joe Know Facebook page.

Want to help Let Joe Know? Become a volunteer! Call 1-855-323-1515 and leave your name, number to start helping us help others.

SO YOU WANT TO KNOW: COMMON QUESTIONS, EASY ANSWERS

REAL CHECK?
3-DAY CANCEL RULE
HOA DISPUTES 
DEBT COLLECTORS 
STOP JUNK MAIL
CHECKING CHARITIES
RENTAL DEPOSITS
ERASING ELECTRONICS
HIRING CONTRACTORS
PREVENT ID THEFT
IMPROVE CREDIT SCORES
CALL BLOCKERS
HOME WARRANTIES

WEBSITES YOU WANT TO KNOW

Free credit report
Class action settlements
Check businesses complaints
Contractor licenses
Latest recalls
Owed unclaimed money

Get in Touch with Let Joe Know