27th February: The menace of fake or phony debt collectors is on rise in America calling for immediate need to exercise caution in case of such suspicions.

In many recent cases, posing as law enforcement officials or attorneys, phony or fake debt collectors asked instant payments on delinquent loans. They threat consumers with arrests or lawsuits in case payments are not made.

The US is witnessing an increase in opportunistic fake debt collectors ready to cash in on the innocent consumers who seem to be too busy to keep a record of accurate documents.

The FTC(Federal Trade Commission) has cracked down on fake debt collector firm based in California using India based call centers for making fake debt collections in the US.

According to reports, around $5 million had been collected by such firm before it was closed by the US district court based in Chicago.

How to know whether a debt collector is phony-

• If a debt collector asks payment on a loan not recognized by you;

• Requests your personal financial details;

• Does not provide you either a phone number or his/her mailing address;

• Tries to scare you by threatening to get you arrested.

What should you do if you are suspicious about the debt collector being phony

• In case of any of the above things, you need to stop answering his/her calls immediately.

• And the next step is to seek details about the caller like company name, phone number and address.

• Don’t commit the mistake of giving your personal information like your Social Security number, bank account or credit card information.

• Seek to get a validation notice with details including total debt amount as well as the name of the creditor. • Ask your creditor to make a report of all suspicious calls.

Also ask about the person having authority for collection.

What to do in case of getting a call from any debt collector

• Be savvy;

• Ask for written verification of the total amount of debt owed;

•If the concerned debt collector is either unwilling or not able to provide amount of debt, it is a red signal for you.

• If he/she threatens you of arrest in case of non-payment of debt owed, it is yet another warning signal, advises the FTC attorney based in Chicago, Elizabeth Scott.