Recognize

While some third-party debt collectors contact you to collect on legitimate debts, there are scammers who pretend to be collection agents to trick you into paying money for debts that have already been paid, canceled, or that don’t even exist. Were you pressured to pay a debt, and you now believe it may have been a scam?

If you think you or someone you know has experienced a debt collection scam, we recommend that you act immediately, by following our guidelines below, and then proceed to our ReportRecover, and Reinforce sections for further assistance.

Warning Signs of Debt Collection Imposter Scams

  • You do not recognize the creditor or the account.
  • They directly ask for money, gift cards, or credit card payment.
  • The individual threatens you with a legal action or pretends to be a government official.
  • The debt collector asks you for information they should already have.
  • The individual will not give you the company contact information.
  • The collection is not on your credit report.
  • The individual asks you to pay by wire transfer or another method that can’t be traced.

Some Immediate Action Steps to Take

  • Contact your bank or financial institution to close or change any compromised accounts.
  • Go to annualcreditreport.com to see a copy of your free annual credit report.
  • Save all information or messages about the individual(s) who contacted you about the debt. You may need to provide this information when you file a report.
  • Locate the customer service number for the company named during the call and speak with someone in their billing department about the incident.

Report

Click Here to Report Your Incident to the FBI IC3

Reporting cybercrime incidents to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) via the link above is very important! The more national reporting data that is collected, the better the chance law enforcement has to catch the criminals and decrease online crime. Although the FBI does not resolve individual complaints directly, they will make your report available to local, state and other law enforcement partners. FAQs about IC3 reporting can be found here. Please read the FBI/IC3 privacy policy here. (If you believe that you’ve received a phishing email, please forward the email directly to reportphishing@apwg.org.)

Contact the Money Service Company You May Have Used and Report the Fraud

Recover

These resources have been gathered, selected and vetted to help simplify the process of recovering after a cybercrime incident has taken place. You may need to contact organizations outside FightCybercrime.org. Results will vary depending on your circumstances.

Contact Credit Reporting Agencies to Monitor Your Accounts

Reinforce

Once you have notified the appropriate organizations and you are on the road to recovery, it is time to reinforce your cybersecurity, using these resources and tools.

Implement Preventive Measures

  • Always request the company name, address, and phone number from the person who is calling you.
  • Ask the individual calling you for them to verify your name, address, and the last four digits of your social security number before giving them any information.
  • Download our Six Steps to Better Security PDF.

Community Resources