Consumers across the country are being targeted by debt collection companies that may already have a lot of your personal information. But, that doesn’t mean the collectors are following the law. In fact, the person contacting you may not even be a legitimate debt collector.
Case in point – a Texas business called Commercial Recovery Systems, which also did business as CRS.
The Federal Trade Commission just wrapped up a 2-year investigation alleging years of complaints about illegal threats to garnish wages, file lawsuits and seize personal property.
CRS’ owner was just ordered to pay $2 Million in penalties for the violations. but according to court records, that’s how much the owner was taking home every year.
In addition to companies using illegal debt collection tactics, the FTC warns some people who claim to be debt collectors are actually fake.
If you get a call from someone claiming you owe money, remember this:
All debt collectors must provide the company name, street address and phone number when you ask.
They must give you written verification of your debt, including the name of the creditor and the amount owed, within 5 days of calling you.
And by law, you do not have to give them any personal information over the phone.
Review the Debt Collection section of the FTC’s website so you understand your rights and responsibilities.
And make sure you know the top signs that you’re dealing with a fake debt collector: They won’t give their name or full contact information. They pressure you with scare tactics and threats. And they insist you pay immediately, often instructing you to go buy a pre-paid money card. Never do that!
And if you find you’re dealing with a legitimate debt collector who uses illegal tactics, make sure you get their business name and contact information and file a complaint with the FTC.