The Better Business Bureau of Central New England is reporting complaints from consumers about fake debt collection calls that include threats of arrest and wage garnishment if bills are not paid.

The callers claim New England consumers owe debts before making threats when consumers ask for more information about the payments, according to a news release from the BBB.

Legitimate debt collectors should be able to provide a validation notice of a debt in writing upon request, something the callers collecting on supposed debts and making threats will not be able to do.

The BBB advises consumers to ask for the caller’s name, company, street address and telephone number if they do not appear to be a legitimate debt collector. Consumers should not provide or confirm any bank account, credit card or other personal financial information over the phone until verification is obtained about the caller and alleged debt, according to the BBB.

"The callers don’t know if you actually owe a debt, but they hope that the threat of serious consequences will be enough to take action without investigating the matter," said Nancy B. Cahalen, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central New England in the news release.

By law, a collector must inform consumers of their right to dispute a debt and request written verification. Once sought, all collection activity stops until this proof is provided.

The BBB did not name the likely phony company name being used by the callers.


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