Not so fast. Why have I never received "written notification" of this supposed debt? Because there isn't one!
They said they had my social security number…*cue scary music* Well, liars lie and debt collectors are consummate liars who use fear and ignorance to intimidate average Americans.
So, after the lump in my throat calmed down, and I was able to think rationally, what did I need to consider? Here are my tips: Please remember that these are tips for those who KNOW they don't owe debts of any kind.
1) Don't be intimidated and answer questions. If you should happened to answer the phone and not just let these calls go to voicemail, never confirm your identity or SSN to anyone, even if they claim to already have your information.
A) But they had my name? The internet makes name and phone number info. easy to find and easier to buy. Don't be fooled. I can find a wealth of information on anyone in today's digital age. Doesn't mean, I'm a long lost relative if I know everything about you.
B) It's a legitimate company, though. Doesn't matter. If you know you owe no one, don't be fooled into paying. These companies survive on bulk collections. For every so many people they contact, innocents get caught up in the frenzy and it's a free payday for the company.
2) Know your rights.
A) What are the debt collection laws in your state? Find out, and find out your rights. Debts have a time limit, and once it expires a company has no legal right to collect.
B) Also, research where you can enter a complaint with the Federal Government if the calls become harassing in nature. Keep and immediately submit those calls to your state's Attorney General if the caller threatens violence or harm to you.
C) If you speak to the debt collection agency, ask that they submit the debt to you in writing. (Again, do not give or confirm you mailing address. They should already have it if they are legitimate.) The who, what, when, where, why, and how information of the debt should all be sent to you in written form.
3) BLOCK. I immediately block these calls from my phone as I have no business with these companies, therefore I do not allow them the honor of my attention.
It's isn't always easy to shoo away the fear when you receive a call like this. The first and foremost thing to do is to "breathe before you react." Next, face your fears, check your finances and determine if you owe any debt, anywhere. When you've done this, breathe again, and decide how you'll proceed. Will you ignore them and block their calls? Will you speak with them? When you've decided, then know your rights.
There are plenty of articles on unscrupulous debt collection agencies capturing innocent Americans in debts that aren't real. Regular people pay money to stop the calls on debts that either aren't theirs or have expired. Don't let anyone victimize you and take your money.
Lastly, don't play mind games with these companies. They have the time and energy to make you miserable, so if you don't owe a debt, it's best not to engage with them on any level.