Certified Credit and Collection Checklist

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    Certified Credit and Collection Checklist

    Credit and collection is an industry that’s a tale as old as time. Whenever there’s debt, there are debt collection agencies.

    But that doesn’t mean they’re all operating fairly or even legitimately.

    If you’re a business looking to tap their services, here’s how to know if the company is a certified credit and collection agency.

    The Warning Signs

    The original creditor may try to collect the debt after an account, such as a credit card, auto loan, or mobile phone bill, goes past due. The creditor may also sell the debt to someone who will attempt to collect it or hire a debt collector. 

    In the financial industry, there are many legal debt collectors, but con artists may try to trick you into paying for debts you don’t owe or that don’t even exist.

    Watch out for these warning signs when you can’t ascertain if they come from a certified credit and collection agency:

    1. Keeps specific details from you

    The creditor’s identity, the amount owing, and the fact that the debt collector will need to get proof of the debt if you dispute it are all things that a debt collector must disclose. A written notice must be sent to you within five days of the initial contact if the debt collector fails to give you this information.

    2. Forces you to use a prepaid card or money transfer as payment

    These payment methods are popular with scammers because they may be difficult to trace and make it difficult for you to get your money back.

    3. Claims they will inform your work, friends, and family

    Some con artists may threaten to tell your debts to your loved ones, friends, coworkers, or employers to get you to pay. A debt collector must obtain your consent before disclosing your debt to others. To try to get in touch with you, they can only inquire of others about your whereabouts.

    4. You don’t know or recognize the debt

    Make sure the debt is one you owe by asking inquiries. The law requires that any debt collector who contacts you and alleges that you owe money on a debt disclose specific facts, such as the sum of what you allegedly owe and how you incurred it in the first place.

    Inform the caller that you will send a written request to the debt collector and “dispute” the debt if you feel you do not owe it or that it is not even your debt. To get more information about the debt, you can also write the debt collector a written request.

    5. Requests that you provide sensitive financial details

    It’s a big red flag if they ask for private information such as your Social Security number, routing number, or bank account. Never divulge your personal financial information to anyone unless you are confident of their legitimacy. Con artists may use your information to steal your identity.

    6. Calls you at obtrusive times

    Debt collectors are not allowed to phone you at odd hours or locations or when they know it will be inconvenient for you. You might be dealing with a fraudster if you receive a call before 8 a.m. or after midnight.

    To Wrap It Up

    Dealing with debt collection issues can be challenging, especially if you’re unsure of the legitimacy of the individual contacting you—what if they’re a swindler?

    The good thing is legitimate debt collectors operate professionally and adhere to the guidelines and laws protecting the welfare of consumers. So stay vigilant and always remember that you and your debt collector want the same thing—for you to be debt-free.

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