How to confirm the legitimacy of a call from a debt collector
Robocalls and spam and scammers! Oh, my!
Robocalls are on the rise, and consumer patience is wearing thin. Over 5 billion robocalls were made to U.S. phone customers in October 2018 alone, according to YouMail.
However, it’s important to note that not all robocalls or unidentified numbers are scams. While it can be hard to tell the difference between a legitimate business calling versus a scammer, we’d like to teach you a few ways you can check the legitimacy of a call from a debt collector.
Google the business name
The first and quickest step to verifying the legitimacy of a call is by doing a little Google research. A few major things to check for during your search include:
- Does the company have a website?
- Can you find the company’s contact information?
- Is the company flagged by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or BCFP)?
Please note that only about 1.5 percent of people write reviews, according to a study. Experts claim reviews are written when someone has extreme emotions about something. To no one’s surprise, debt collection is often viewed by consumers in a negative light even if the company provided great service.
Do they have an active online presence?
Additionally, more and more businesses are putting forth an effort to stay active on social media to help ease consumers. SRA can be found under the handle @StoneleighRecov on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Are they listed on BBB?
Another bonus find is if the company is listed on the Better Business Bureau website. BBB is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance marketplace trust. SRA is proud to maintain an A+ BBB rating. You can view our BBB profile here.
Search for the business on industry-certified websites
The Receivables Management Association (RMA) is a non-profit trade association that demands high standards of compliance and professionalism from their members. According to their website, “RMA member companies work in a variety of financial services fields, including debt buying companies, collection agencies, law firms, originating creditors, international members and industry-related product and service providers.”
You can check to see if a debt collection company is listed as an RMA-certified company on their website’s Directory of Certified Companies. SRA has been listed as an RMA-certified collection agency since 2008.
The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals (ACA International) is another great industry group you can use to reference a business. According to their website, they are a “comprehensive, knowledge-based resource for success in the credit and collection industry.”
You can check to see if a debt collection company is listed on the ACA Member Directory page. SRA has been involved with ACA Int’l for over 10 years.
A third way to reference the legitimacy of a debt collection is through insideARM. According to their website, the publication has “amassed the ARM industry’s most engaged audience of executives within collection agencies and law firms, debt buyers, creditors, suppliers of technology and services, regulators, investors, and other interested parties.”
You can utilize insideARM’s search tool by entering the company name to check for any relevant industry news topics. You can view SRA’s search results here.
Understand the process
For your privacy, a legitimate debt collector will verify that they are speaking with the correct party before disclosing any information about the debt. This is often done by confirming your date of birth, last four digits of your social security number and complete mailing address.
If you choose not to verify your identity, by law, a debt collector cannot disclose any information about the debt. Therefore, if you notice any red flags that the call may be a scam, it may be helpful to ask for the business’ information.
Ask for contact information
If you are unsure of the legitimacy of a call, it may be helpful to ask the caller for their name and the company’s contact information. This includes the company’s name, street address and a callback number.
Without verifying your identity, the collector will not be able to provide any further information.
Here is an article from the BCFP that specifically tells the difference between legitimate debt collectors and scammers. Please note that the verification of your identity is an essential piece to moving forward with a call. insideARM’s CEO Stephanie Eidelman explains why in this article.
For more information, please visit the BCFP’s debt collection resource page.
Stoneleigh Recovery Associates is not a court of law. This article should not be intended as legal advice. Laws change all the time. SRA will make its best effort to update Debt Education content as laws change.
Reference to any specific view, company, person (etc.) is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Stoneleigh Recovery Associates.
Stoneleigh Recovery Associates is a debt collection company. To the extent that this is an attempt to collect a debt, please be advised that any information obtained will be used for those purposes. For more information, please visit our about us page.