Of course, that technological device won’t always help since many companies and individuals regularly block their phone numbers when they call others. This makes it very difficult for people who are simply wondering whether or not they’re hearing from a friend, a possible scam artist or an actual debt collector who is simply trying to do his or her job.

            Here are some questions that can help you discern whether the person calling you over the phone is an actual debt collector or simply someone trying to trick you into giving out information about your bank account or other personal data.

How to Determine If Your Caller is a True Debt Collector or A Potential Identity Thief

  • Is the person acting very polite or abusive?  Fortunately, since the passage of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), many real debt collectors have learned that they can be sued if they’re abusive to those they call over the phone. Therefore, when someone calls and is extremely aggressive about trying to obtain your Social Security number or bank account number, you've got a very strong chance you’re speaking with a potential scam artist;
  • Is the person willing to immediately send you a writer letter documenting the exact amount you owe? Remember, this is your legal right under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).  While on the phone, be sure  to ask for the individual’s name – as well as for his/her agency’s correct name, address and phone number;
  • Is the debt collector willing to work out a possible installment plan for paying off any amount you owe? Actual debt collectors are eager to get anything you’ll pay – therefore, they will normally work with you to let you set up a long-term repayment plan;
  • Is the person immediately able to give you the name of the original creditor and your related account number? A knowledgeable debt collector will do this – avoid providing any of this information yourself and request the written letter referenced above.

Other General Tips for Interacting with Potential Scam Artists on the Phone

  • While still talking to an unknown individual, ask for their phone number and see if you can find it listed in a search engine.  There is an excellent chance that a scammer’s phone number will already be listed on the Internet in an effort to warn others like you. However, not finding it doesn’t necessarily mean you can trust your caller – the person could be making up the number if they’ve blocked their phone number while calling you;
  • Remember, you’re always free to cut all calls short – without providing an excuse.  You can now call your original creditor on the phone and obtain the name of the debt collection agency that bought your account – or had it assigned to them;                 
  • While bringing questionable phone calls to a close, always tell the caller that you keep a log of all business and debt-related phone calls. This information will often scare off any potential thief who is simply wanting to find someone who will carelessly give away all of their person information without properly identifying the caller.

Finally, give serious thought to calling your local Better Business Bureau after such phone calls in order to give them whatever information you’ve just obtained from the “alleged” agency. That way, people who call in after you and voice similar concerns will know that others also noticed questionable behavior.                                                                                                   Of course, should you determine that you were dealing with an actual debt collector who was definitely being abusive to you, be sure to contact your Peachtree City consumer protection attorney to consider whether or not you should file an FDCPA lawsuit to fully protect your rights and obtain the justice that you deserve.


If you believe that you’re a victim of any abusive debt collection practices, contact the Law Offices of Georgia consumer protection attorney Shane Smith so that you can learn more about your rights under federal and state consumer protection statutes. Call (770) 487-8999 today to schedule your free initial consultation.

Shane Smith
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Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia

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