Legitimate Collection Agency – don’t fall for a scam
Debt collectors or debt collection agencies are usually hired by creditors to recover money they are owed for goods or services. The majority of collectors and agencies are legitimate, ethical and honest and work within a strict set of guidelines and codes of conduct. However, the problem of bogus or scam debt collectors is becoming […]
Debt collectors or debt collection agencies are usually hired by creditors to recover money they are owed for goods or services. The majority of collectors and agencies are legitimate, ethical and honest and work within a strict set of guidelines and codes of conduct. However, the problem of bogus or scam debt collectors is becoming more common in the UK.
Scammers will contact people claiming to be a legitimate collection agency and then attempt to recover a bogus debt. A lot of these debts are phantom debts – debts that don’t exist because they have already been paid or discharged, or never existed in the first place. Another type of debt that a scammer may attempt to collect is one which has become statute barred. This means that action to recover the money was not taken within the time frame allowed and therefore is no longer enforceable.
You may think that you would never fall for a scam, but the criminals are becoming more and more sophisticated in their methods. They may well have researched you, your company, obtained credit records and personal information via identity theft, and all of this adds layers of credibility to their methods. To stop it happening you need to be able to spot the scam. We have compiled a list of some of the key things to watch out for that would indicate it is a criminal scam:
• The person calling you asks for information that they should already have; this is a warning sign. A legitimate collection agency will already have your personal information as well as an account number for the debt. Don’t give out any sensitive personal details and never give any financial details such as bank account information or credit card numbers, these could be used to commit identity theft or fraud.
• The caller does not give full details of the agency they are allegedly representing. Ask them for the full name of the company, the business address and a business number to call back on. By law legitimate agencies have to provide this information and a genuine collector would be happy to furnish you with the details.
• If they do provide a number, do some basic research online to verify the number. If you type it into Google, then the number should come up linked to that agency. If it doesn’t, it is probably a scam. There are also consumer watchdog sites online that will flag up numbers that bogus callers are using.
• The caller puts pressure on you to pay straight away. This could include making threats regarding legal action or other enforcement practices should you not comply. While by their very nature, collection agencies want to be paid quickly, any overly pushy or threatening behaviour should be treated with suspicion. It is illegal for a collection agency to threaten you with arrest or time in prison.
• How are they asking to be paid? If payment is being requested via wire transfer, then you know something is wrong. This is a favourite method for payment by scammers as it is quick, easy and untraceable and very, very difficult for you to recover your money from. A reputable agency will have a range of payment options such as credit or debit card, cheque, bankers draft, BACS or CHAPS and will never push for payment via wire transfer.
• They call you repeatedly on the phone to demand payment but will not provide or accept anything in writing. A legitimate agency is not allowed to repeatedly phone and hassle you.
If you are contacted for the collection of a debt, research the company who is calling or has written to you. You can expect complete and honest disclosure from a legitimate and ethical agency. Professional agencies will have no reservation about revealing pertinent information to you such as the full name and registered address of the agency, their contact information and the name of the original creditor. They will also be willing to provide you with this information in writing. Legitimate collection agencies will offer you a range of safe payment options and not press for immediate payment via wire transfer. Legitimate collectors will also not ask you to reveal personal or sensitive information. Their primary concern will be to have the debt settled or a repayment plan put into place.
If you are being contacted and something feels wrong, it probably is! Take a step back and give yourself time to check the caller’s legitimacy and cross-reference the debt with your own records. Don’t be pressured into making a payment you are unsure about there and then.
Similarly, if you are looking to hire the skills of a collection agency, do your research. Investigate the company, are they established, are they members of organisations such as the Credit Services Association and Financial Conduct Authority which means that they have to adhere to a strict set of guidelines in their practices? Be sure that you are dealing with a company that trains it staff to operate ethically and will work to protect your reputation as well as the relationship you have with your clients.
If you have any debts that are owing or would like the skilled support of a company experienced in credit management, get in touch with Daniels Silverman today. We are a progressive, ethical and experienced agency that is family-owned and has been established for 25 years.
You get in touch via the website where we have friendly operators ready to answer your questions or you can give us a call to talk to us in person and find out how our services could benefit your business.