In 2018 alone, nearly 90,000 Americans reported getting a spam call from a fake collection agency trying to obtain funds. The most commonly used area code 972 (Dallas) with Fort Lauderdale coming second with 954. If you receive a call from a collection agency, here’s what you need to ask to validate whether it’s a legitimate collection agency or a scam. As you continue reading you will learn the difference between legitimate collection agency and scammers.

3 Questions to verify the legitimacy of a collection agency

Q: How to Spot Debt Collection Scams

A: When a collection agency threatens you to pay up now or you will be reported to the credit bureau and possibly get jail time. This is often a scammer. A professional and ethical collection agency will treat you with respect offering you ways to pay down your debt without being threatened.

Q: How to Expose a Collection Scam

A: Ask the collection agency what the name of the company they are calling from is, what their address and phone# are. Ask who the original creditor is. Ask for the Original creditor’s phone #. The name of the creditor should help jog your memory.  They should never ask for your information (they should have it already if they are legitimate) until they confirm you are in fact the debtor by asking to speak with your first and last name and have you confirm your date of birth. That will be followed by the mini Miranda. You will know this is a legitimate collection agency if they follow this protocol due to HIPAA laws.

Q: How to protect yourself from debt collectors

A: Know who you owe and how much debt you have. If you’re staying on top of your finances, you will know right away that the collection agency is either legit or a fraud. Checking your credit report will provide you with accounts you have open and the balances for each account.

If they don’t provide the answer to any of the questions above, hang up the phone. These 3 questions will avoid you from being scammed out of money. Also, knowing your finances and credit will help you as well. Be a smart consumer and protect your finances!

Another way to spot a scammer is that a collection agency cannot contact you (before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. local time) and cannot contact you at work if you say they are not allowed to.

If you’re uncomfortable providing any information, you can request the caller’s name, company, address, and a callback number. If they refuse more than likely it’s a scam, hang up. If you report the number to the DO NOT CALL registry the likelihood of them not calling you again is slim as these scammers use spoof phone numbers that have been previously disconnected. You should review your credit report at least once a month with Credit Karma. By knowing your open accounts and the balances of each account, you will have a clear understanding of your financial health.

Learn more about Fraudulent Debt Collections and other scams by visiting