Protect yourself against these common debt collection scams

There will always be someone out there who, given the chance, would not hesitate to steal your hard-earned money from you. This post will help you spot a scammer a mile away and keep what’s yours.

One popular racket among scammers involves calling people on the phone, pretending to be from the Internal Revenue Service, and demanding immediate payment of taxes owed. They threaten jail time and often demand payment by a specific method. According to the IRS, at least 5,000 victims were cheated out of some $26 million since 2013 — an average of over $5,000 each.

You should know that the IRS virtually never calls taxpayers, and absolutely never demands immediate payment over the phone. They never demand a specific form of payment. And jail time for unpaid taxes is not common; it is a punishment usually reserved for people willfully avoiding large tax liabilities.

Criminals running more general scams often fraudulently obtain people’s credit reports. That way they can call about a debt you actually owe. Like those posing as IRS agents, these scammers will demand immediate payment via a specific method and threaten jail time or law enforcement involvement. They may be unusually harassing and rude.

Again, no legitimate debt collection agency is going to demand payment “today,” refuse to accept various forms of payment or threaten jail time. Another tell-tale sign is if the caller refuses to give a physical mailing address. If you call back and a live person immediately answers, or if you speak with the same individual each time you call, these are red flags. Real debt collection agencies have phone menus or receptionists and multiple agents, any of whom might work on your case.

Ignoring scare tactics and knowing how scams work can help protect you against scammers. For real problems with real debt, contact Osenton Law Office.

O. Reginald (“Reggie”) Osenton is the Owner and President of Osenton Law Office If you need a Brandon bankruptcy lawyer, attorney, call 813.654.5777 or visit