It may seem hard to believe but people in debt are being targeted by, and getting ripped off by, scam artists!
Here is how it works, as the economy has started to recover many people are beginning to pay off old debts in order to begin cleaning up their credit.
Often these older debts are no longer being collected by the company you originally owned the money to, but to a collection agency who either owns your account or is working for someone who does.
Most of us have either had to deal with one of these companies or know someone who has, and it can be unpleasant, especially when it comes to unwanted phone calls.
Scammers know this, and they know you often don't understand exactly how much you own due to fees, penalties or settlements that have come and gone over the length of the debt.
What they are waiting for is for you to start paying it off, that means you have money, and that is when they pounce!
Pretending to be collection agency or a law firm they bully people into sending them money for a debt that doesn't exist, often by threatening arrest.
But you need to know that you have rights. First, a legitimate collections agency cannot, ever, say you will arrested if you don't pay your debt. They also can't lie or falsely claim they are a member of law enforcement or an attorney.
Oh, and they can't harass, oppress or abuse you.
This is the law, but your best defense may be personal knowledge.
You need to know exactly how much you owe and who you owe it to!
So, if you think you are being scammed, you should contact your local police or sheriffs department.
But if you do have an outstanding debt, and you feel you are being harassed, you can contact the Nevada Department of Business and Industry:
Nevada Department of Business and Industry
P.O. Box 3239
Carson City, NV 89702
775-687-5522 or 702-486-4120
You should also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
They are responsible for enforcing what is called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
The FTC looks at patterns of complaints and holds debt collection agencies accountable both by suing them, and fining them.
We have put a link to their complaints site on our Hot Topics page, just click on the bright orange button on the right of our homepage.