Protecting the Rights of Consumers
For Over 25 Years
Edelman Combs Latturner & Goodwin, LLC
We have had increasing reports of scammers posing as debt collectors. If a debt collector calls you, you should do the following before you make any payment or give any personal information.
1. Make sure the call is from an actual debt collector. Ask for the company name, caller name, company street address, phone number, and professional license number. Look up the company on the Internet. See if they have a license from either the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation or the equivalent agency in their home state. If you call back, use the number you find on the Internet.
2. Call the creditor and ask if they have authorized the caller to collect the debt or sold the debt to the caller. Many creditors will notify you as a matter of course that the debt has been sold to a debt buyer or placed with an agency for collection.
3. Do not discuss the debt or provide any information about your finances until you receive the written "notice of debt" required to be sent within 5 days of the first communication by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The "notice of debt" must identify the collector, identify the current creditor or owner of the debt, state the amount of the debt, and inform you how to dispute the debt. A debt collector who insists that you pay or provide banking information immediately, or who claims you are not entitled to the "notice of debt," is almost certainly a scammer.
4. See if your credit reports list the debt. If the debt is within the 7.5 year reporting period, your credit reports may indicate who owns the debt or who is collecting it. If the debt has dropped off your credit report because it is older than 7.5 years, it is likely that it is too old to collect. Applicable statutes of limitation in Illinois range from two to ten years from default or last payment.
5. If you decide to try to settle the debt, get settlement offers in writing. Otherwise you may find that the collector is treating your payment as a payment on the account and seeking to collect the balance.
6. If you have any questions about the legitimacy of the debt collector, or feel that you don't owe the debt, it is too old to collect, or the amount or other information is incorrect, dispute it in writing within 30 days after you received the "notice of debt." There is a form you can use for this purpose on this website.