There is a new scam in the US. I saw this last night in Inside Edition over ETC. Better be careful in case scam artists in the country get the same idea.
The modus operandi goes like this. Person X receives a call from an alleged debt collector. Person X is informed that he owes money and that he must pay the debt collector immediately. The collector will also scare the wits out of Person X, telling him that if he doesn’t pay immediately, a sheriff will go to his home and arrest Person X.
Although Person X doesn’t really remember any debt, he’ll be so scared by the idea of getting arrested and going to jail, Person X would pay the alleged debt to an account number.
Debt collectors in our own country can get very rude and, sometimes, hostile. Anyone who unfortunately missed on their credit card payments knows this. Debt collectors, mostly outsourced by banks and credit card companies, call the credit card holder and demand payment. And no matter what your explanation may be, most of the time, these debt collectors don’t give a hoot. In fact, these debt collectors threaten CC holders with the possibility of going to court.
I find this MO in the US very disturbing as local scam artists can copy it and victimize Filipinos. Here are some tips to avoid getting scammed by “debt collectors:”
1. Remember all your debts—whether it’s from a friend, a family member, or from lending institutions.
2. If you have outstanding debts from lending institutions like banks, Pag-ibig, etc., they should send you a regular billing statement. Keep those billing statements to keep track of what you owe.
3. If a “debt collector” calls and demands payment for a debt you don’t even remember, ask that a formal letter be sent to you. Give your office address instead of your home address for security reasons. If indeed the debt is real, they should have your address on file.
4. Pay only to authorized payment centers. Even if your debt has been transferred to a debt collection agency, lending institutions still accept payment in their offices.
Many years ago, I cancelled a Globe post-paid line. Three years after, I received a demand letter from a law firm, informing me to immediately settle P750 that I owe Globe, a balance that I absolutely don’t remember. Although the letter stated that I can pay through the law firm, I chose to pay directly to Globe. And that was the end of it.
Finally, the best weapon against these so-called “debt collectors” is not have any debt at all. When you are certain without a doubt that you are debt-free, you can always yell at those scam artists and tell them to shove that debt where the sun doesn’t shine.