Cunning is one of the characteristics through which scammers operate and it is through it that they manage to impersonate legitimate companies. For this reason you must be very careful in case of receiving calls from alleged debt collectors, even if they show you have a lot of personal information about you. It may be a con artist running a “phantom debt collector” scam.

Keep the following tips in mind if you have been called by debt collectors:

  1. Debt collection scams often involve callers claiming to be federal and state agents, investigators, or members of a law firm. Hang up and call the organization in question directly.
  2. Beware of debt collectors who refuse to give you a mailing address or phone number, ask you for sensitive personal and financial information, refuse to give you information about your debt, or are trying to collect a debt that you do not recognize.
  3. Check your credit report. If the debt the caller claims you owe is not listed on there, it’s probably a scam.
  4. Inform the caller that you will not discuss any debt until you receive written proof of the debt. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires debt collectors to send written notice with the amount owed and the name of the creditor within five days of contacting you.
  5. According to FDCPA, a debt collector must stop calling you if you ask them in writing. A debt collector may begin to contact you again if they provide you with a written verification of the debt, such as a copy of a bill for the amount you owe.

Consumers or businesses that need information can contact the Consumer Assistance Center, which is staffed with trained analysts who answer questions on almost any topic. Find more information at  or by calling the Consumer Assistance Center at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).