This week, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody issued a new Scams at a Glance resource highlighting phantom debt collection schemes.
Phantom debt is debt that doesn’t exist or has already been paid. To execute a phantom debt scheme, scammers call targets and claim money is still owed and must be paid immediately. Floridians should be aware of phantom debt scams to avoid falling prey.
“Floridians who pay off debt or may have never owed in the first place could still be subjected to ruthless scammers trying to steal money or obtain financial information through phantom debt schemes. To ensure you don’t fall prey to a phantom debt scheme, learn the facts by checking out my latest Scams at a Glance resource,” Moody said on Thursday.
Phantom debt scammers often pose as legitimate creditors or company representatives attempting to collect valid debts. Consumers who suspect they may be dealing with a phantom debt collector should take the following steps to prevent being scammed:
- Avoid providing financial or private information to unknown individuals;
- Ask for a validation letter from the debt collector that includes the collection agency’s name, address, current creditor and the amount of the debt owed;
- Send a written request for the original creditor’s information and proof of the debt to confirm its validity; and
- Know that debt collectors are required by law to send a written validation notice within five days of making contact.