Your phone rings. Someone on the other end is claiming to work for a collection agency of some kind. He tells you that the purpose of this call is to collect a debt. A debt which is so old that you thought it was gone or you either do not remember owing. This is legitimately collectible or not how do you ensure?
The caller must identify who he is and who he works for. Legitimate debt collectors in Australia
will supply a phone number, business name and mailing address. A scammer will fudge around this or claim he does not have to supply this information.
The majority of collection agencies will send you a letter prior to calling you. Federal law requires them to send you a letter about the debt no later than five days after their first contact with you. Eliminates the surprise to you when they call and they are following the law is ensured by sending the letter.
To have the collection agency verify the debt you have the right. With return receipt so you have proof they received the letter you send the letter via certified mail and you must do this in writing. A sample letter from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can be found at consumerfinance.gov.
Though there is no federal definition of what constitutes debt verification, the assumption is that if they can prove to a judge that you owe the debt, then that is acceptable verification. So you should receive one or more of these items:
- · A copy of the original, signed contract
- · A copy of the charge-off statement from the original creditor
- · A copy of at least one cancelled check paid from you to the original creditor
- · With the debt information from the creditor that ties you (an account number, the creditor's name, the last four digits of your social security number, the charged off amount and the current balance)
The collection agency has thirty days to supply this verification to you. During debt collection in NSW
, the collection agency cannot attempt to collect this debt in any manner and they cannot report this debt to the credit bureaus (note the original creditor can still report it).
Some things you should do during this thirty day period
Check your credit report to make sure the debt is truly yours. The original creditor will report this as "Charged Off" if it has been transferred or sold to a collection agency. You may also determine the debt is too old under your state's statute of limitations for the collector to sue you.
To determine who they sold the debt to contact the original creditor. They can tell you this information. To learn who the actual owner is you will have to follow the "chain of title" if the debt has been sold numerous times. And the chances of this collection agency being able to verify the debt drop dramatically if it has been sold numerous times.
The debt is uncollectible if the verification cannot be supplied to you within the thirty days. But, the collection agency will add this to your credit report and the debt is collectible if they do verify it.
Do not spend time on the phone with the debt collector if you have any questions about this debt not being yours. Any hint of acknowledging the debt is yours is not to be given by you. Confirm the mailing address to send it to and politely end the call after just telling the collector that you will be sending a verification request.