A debt buyer is a third-party company that purchases the uncollected debts from a creditor or debt collector, typically for a fraction of the face value of the original debt. A debt buyer could directly try to collect on the debt, use another collection agency to collect on the debt, or could resell your debt again to another debt buyer or collection agency.
This confusing practice of buying and selling debt often leads to duplicate or out of date lists being resold over and over again to potential collectors. Thus, it is very difficult to keep track of who you’ve been contacted by, if you have paid off your debt, and to what company you have submitted your payment. This makes it even more important for consumers to keep good records in order to prove the debt has been paid.
If you believe you have already paid off your debt and are still being contacted by debt collectors, follow these tips to determine the validity of the debt:
- Ask the caller for his name, company, address, and phone number.
- Legitimate debt collectors are required to provide contact information and the nature of the debt owed.
Ask for the original creditor information:
- If you believe you may owe a debt, contact your original creditor directly to find out what debt collector, if any, has purchased or may be authorized to collect the debt.
Do not give out any personal information:
- Fake debt collectors can use your sensitive information to commit identity theft.
- Refuse to discuss any debt owed until a written “validation notice” is received.
- A proper “validation notice” will include the amount of debt, the name of the creditor, and your rights under the CFDCPA.
Keep good records:
- Keep evidence of any debt you may have previously paid off.
- Maintain a file of documents and correspondences between you and any debt collector.
- Record dates and times of conversations and keep good notes.
If you have received a threatening phone call, fallen victim to a fake debt collector, or wish to report suspicious activity, please file a report here.