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How to tell if a debt collector is legitimate

When a Florida resident receives a call from a debt collector, it could be a valid collector trying to collect a debt based on incorrect information. It could also be a scammer trying to dupe an individual into handing over their cash. To determine if a debt collector is legitimate, it is important to understand the restrictions placed on them by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

When contacted by a debt collector, an individual should ask for information such as the caller’s name and the company that he or she represents. Individuals should also ask the supposed debt collector to confirm the name and address of who it is trying to reach. If a debt collector is legitimate, it should have that information available and share it with no qualms.

If a supposed debt collector verifies the last four digits of a person’s Social Security number, it is not a legitimate debt collector. Under the FDCPA, it is illegal to share such information. Furthermore, individuals should not share this information to anyone even if a debt collector seems legitimate. Those who are still wary about whether or not they owe money should ask to have a written validation notice sent to them. That notice should arrive within five business days.

Filing for personal bankruptcy may put a stop to creditor harassment or calls for debt collectors. Once a debt has been discharged in bankruptcy, an individual has no further obligation to pay it. In some cases, a debtor may keep some or all property such as a home or car during the bankruptcy process. If a person files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, he or she has three or five years to make payments to creditors under a court-approved plan.

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