Collection Scams: 7 Signs to Look Out For

December 17, 2018 | By Louis Tully

Every year, thousands of consumers fall victim to telephone scams. Chances are, you were probably targeted at one point, too. If you’re already using title loans to fill in financial gaps, the last thing you need is to be scammed by someone posing as a collection’s agent. Don’t kick off the New Year becoming a victim of some scam. If you ever find yourself on the phone with someone but you’re not sure if it’s legit or not, here are 7 signs to look out for.

1. They Threaten to Sue You

If you were actually getting sued over a debt, you wouldn’t be served over the phone. Instead, you would receive a legal notice containing specific instructions on how to proceed. The legal notice would need to be physically delivered to you personally by a member of law enforcement. If someone claims you’re being served over the phone, just hang up.

2. They Threaten to Have You Arrested

No matter what, you can’t be arrested over a debt that you owe. The only way you could be arrested over a debt you owed is if you failed to appear in court (assuming you were being sued). An inability to pay back a debt isn’t a crime. Not appearing in court over a debt you owe, however, (or for any reason, for that matter) is.

3. They Impersonate Law Enforcement

If anyone ever calls you over a debt while impersonating an officer of the law, it’s nothing more than a scare tactic. Police will never ever call you over something like a debt. If someone does call you saying they’re from law enforcement, hang up. The won’t call back.

4. They Have a Heavy Accent

If the caller has an accent, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a scam. However, if they’re calling from overseas and claiming they’re calling to collect a debt from you in the States, it’s a scam.

5. They Claim to Collect on an Old Title Loan You Aren’t Sure You Owe

If someone calls you claiming to collect on a title loan that you owe, tell them you’ll call them back. Then, call the lender you actually got the title loan from (assuming you did take out a title loan at one point). They’ll be able to verify if you do still owe on an old title loan or not.

6. They Don’t Give Clear or Adequate Information

Lenders want you to repay your loan, and will give you the information you need to pay it. If someone calls you asking for payment on a debt you owe, don’t hesitate to ask questions. You have every right to know every detail about the call. Ask the following:

  • What’s the name of the collection agency you’re calling from?
  • What’s your name?
  • Where are you located? (address)
  • How much do I owe?
  • What is the debt for?
  • How old is the debt?

If the call is legit, the caller should be able to answer all these questions with zero hesitation. If they struggle to answer or refuse to answer, hang up. It’s a scam.

7. They Refuse to Send Written Notice of Your Debt

If you’re still not sure whether or not a call is legit or a scam, ask for a written notice of the debt they’re referring to. If it’s real, there’s no reason they can’t send you something in the mail. If they refuse to cooperate with you on this front, then you guessed it – it’s a scam!

When in Doubt

If you hesitate to try any of the above tips, it doesn’t hurt to just hang up. You’re never obligated to stay on the phone with someone if you’re not comfortable. As we mentioned, if they’re legit, they’ll call back. But in the future, try to use these tips to determine whether the person calling is really trying to scam you. That way, you can report them to the proper channels.