Fake debt collectors want your very real money

Fake debt collectors want your very real money
Fake debt collectors want your very real money

It isn't bad enough that people behind on their bills have to worry about debt collectors -- now you have to be on the lookout for fake debt collectors as well.

Determining the real ones from the fake ones can be confusing because when a fake debt collector calls, sometimes they're calling about a very real past due bill.

But not always. Frequently fake debt collectors will make up debt you don't really owe, referencing a fake bill they hope will rattle you enough to make you pay up without really thinking things through. There have also been a growing number of reports of fraudulent collection agencies either buying credit information, or stealing bills out of mailboxes, and then using that information to do everything they can to make themselves look like an authentic debt collector.

Which means you could pay the fake debt collector what you actually owe and still be left in debt to the actual company you owe money to.

This fairly new problem seems to be growing. After a search of numerous newspaper archives, I've had no luck finding any mentions in the media of a case of a fake debt collector from even the mid-2000s, but I can easily find plenty starting in 2008, when the Great Recession began in earnest. And I found several examples of it happening lately.