Receiving a telephone call from a debt collector is not a pleasant experience. Being hounded by someone attempting to collect a debt you do not owe is fraud.    Recently the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settled its complaint against phantom debt collector National Landmark Logistics, LLC.  The FTC accused National Landmark Logistics LLC with using illegal robocalls to leave deceptive messages that consumers would face imminent legal action or even arrest for unpaid debts that in many instances did not even exist.  Collecting payments for debts that are not owed is often referred to as phantom debt collection.  According to the FTC, National Landmark Logistics, LLC collected on debts that didn’t exist or that National Landmark knew it had no right to collect.    Debt collection through robocalls is always illegal.  One of the conditions of the settlement is that National Landmark Logistics will be permanently barred from the debt collection business.

TIPS

Subject to strict federal laws, legitimate debt collectors are permitted to call debtors, however, the law prohibits them from attempting to collect a debt that the debt collector knows is bogus.

It can be difficult to know when someone calls attempting to collect a debt if indeed they are legitimate or not, so the best course of action if you receive such a call is to not discuss the debt with the person calling, but instead demand that they send you a written “validation notice” by regular mail which describes the debt they allege you owe and includes a listing of your rights under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  Never give personal information over the phone to anyone who calls you attempting to collect a debt. You can never be sure who they are.  If you receive the validation notice and it appears to be legitimate, you may be better off contacting your creditor directly because the person who called you may not be representing the creditor, but may merely have information about the debt.

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