We’ve heard a lot of debt collection horror stories over the years, and unfortunately, with the increase in fake collection agencies, the reputation of the sector is facing ever further scrutiny.
Not only by providing a vast range of professional debt collection services, but in this post, we’ve pulled together some of the most common things to look for to help identify a fake debt collection agency. Preventing you from handing over money to the wrong people.
How to avoid paying false debts and extortionate fees – how to spot a fake debt collector
A fake agency debt collector will:
- Use aggressive language to scare people into paying.
- Apply pressure and threaten you.
- Be unable to provide any documentation.
- We will not be able to provide you with all, if any, information.
- Pretend to be someone they’re not.
- Pretend to have legal powers they do not.
- Threaten to tell your friends, family, and co-workers.
- Call at odd times and outside the “acceptable” remit.
- Avoid properly identifying themselves.
- Demand immediate payment.
- Accept unusual forms of payment.
How to avoid fake debt collectors
Do your research.
Before signing up and working with a collection agency, check if you or anyone you know has had any dealings with the agency.
You should also check that the company you were dealing with has indeed sold/passed the debt onto the collection agent.
If an agency calls you, clarify the name of the agency, the caller, their contact details, etc. Gather as much information as possible, including the reason for calling.
If contact comes in writing – it should be on an official, letter-headed paper with full details of the debt in question outlined.
If you have received an email demanding payment of an outstanding debt, avoid falling victim to phishing scams by checking and clarifying a sender’s email address, i.e., check the “from” and confirm they are indeed who they say they are. Don’t click on any links in an email until it is verified. Phishing scams thrive on obtaining personal information, especially bank details. Clicking on unverified links can download malicious malware onto your device, putting its entire security at risk.
Ultimately, it is vital that you check out all the information presented to you and do your research thoroughly.
Check out the debt collection agency online.
Do they exist? Are they members of any professional bodies, such as the CSA (Credit Services Association – the regulatory body for the debt collection agency)?
Do they have the correct licence to carry out commercial collections?
Check that you do indeed have an outstanding debt.
Make sure that the debt is, in fact, a debt you owe and is still valid. Are you aware that there is a debt outstanding? Do you think you’ve paid, and have you got proof?
Make sure to check all your paperwork, emails, messages, etc.
Check for spelling errors.
Poor spelling and grammar are clear indicators that a fake debt collection agency is at work. Fake collectors are uninformed, and their messages are often hastily put together, hence the increase in typos!
Specific things you can do to check the validity of a debt collector:
- Ask for a call back to verify their contact details.
- Ask for further information about the debt in question.
- Contact your original creditor to make sure they have sold the debt.
- Finally, check your credit report; it will state if you have any outstanding debts and who the debt is with.
It is vital that you make sure the debt collection agency contacting you is legitimate before you make payment.
Professional debt recovery agencies
Professional collection agencies work to incredibly high standards, follow legal compliance and guidance regulations, and ultimately help businesses recover debts and overdue payments – providing a valuable service and support to many SMEs.
A professional debt collection agent won’t:
- Contact you at unreasonable times.
- Harass you or threaten you in any way.
- Force their way into your home or place of work.
- Charge excessive fees and interest (over and above what is in your written agreement).
- Disclose anything about your debt to anyone other than you.
A professional DCA can tell you the creditor’s name, the amount due, further verification details
, and more. They abide by ethical practices and codes of conduct, working with you to come to the best solution for both parties.
A debt recovery agency you can trust
Debt collection can already prove a little daunting, but when you’re also dealing with fake debt collection agencies, it can be even more challenging.
Many businesses today opt to outsource their outstanding debts to a professional collection agency, freeing up time and resources and ensuring a higher chance of successful collection.
Professional debt collectors help ensure businesses continue to operate effectively – with invoices paid on time, every time, providing a valuable service and adding value to the economy.
At Direct Route, we provide a range of debt collection services to support businesses of all sizes with the collection of overdue invoices. Working with you, we support your credit function while maintaining strong relationships with your customers.