(Phone ringing) Hello? (Voice on Phone) Hello, James? I’m from ScamTown Collections. Wait who are you with? (Voice on Phone) You owe us $850, and you haven’t been making any payments. What payments, what do you mean? (Voice on Phone) If you don’t pay us what you owe by close of business today, there will be serious consequences. What do you mean– what kind of consequences? (Voice on Phone) You’re likely looking at jail time. (Voice of Reason) Okay, now a real debt collector would never do that. Legitimate debt collectors know that it’s illegal to threaten to have someone arrested for not paying their debts. But this is something that scammers do all the time. Jail? Wait, wait, wait. I can figure this out. How much do I owe? Who do I owe? And what is this for? James, James, if you want to spend the next week at home and not in jail, you will give me your bank account or debit card number right now! James asked some really good questions: how much do I owe, and to whom? But the caller didn’t give an answer. You have a right to know how much you owe and who the creditor is, even if you don’t ask for it. A third party debt collector should provide this and other information over the phone, and must generally send you this information within five days of initially contacting you. (Voice on Phone) We need you to give us your bank account or debit card number to get this debt taken care of right away. I still don’t know who you are or what this is for. So, jail then? No! Just…. hang on. Scammers will often try to pressure you to make a decision so fast you don’t have time to think about what they are saying. That’s why it’s important to ask questions, get fully informed about the debt, and not be pressured by illegal threats.. A real debt collector should answer your questions. The address for the company they work for? Sure. A callback number that works? No problem. You can use this information to look it up and verify online or call them back at their number. Legitimate collectors want you to know who they are and how to contact them. It’s even reasonable to expect them to help you determine the best way to pay off your debts, and often to even help you arrange payments over a period of time. James, this is a scam. It is? Definitely. Next time, make sure you’ve been given sufficient information or have received the written notice with information about the debt before you pay anything. Debt collection issues can be a challenge, and you should feel confident the debt is yours and trust that your payments will go to a legitimate collector, not a scammer out to defraud you. Visit consumerfinance.gov/debtscams to get trustworthy answers to your questions about debt collection, and learn how to protect yourself from debt collection scams. Thanks. You got it. Oh, and I would hang up the— There you go.