Debt collector called, should we call them back?

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jimmyrules712
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Debt collector called, should we call them back?

Post by jimmyrules712 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:51 am

My wife received a VM from someone claiming to be a debt collector and said she needs to call them back. We are normally on top of our bills and have never had any unpaid debts or been involved with debt collectors before....however my wife does incur a lot of medical bills and it would not surprise me if she mistakenly missed paying one off. As far as I know we haven't received anything in the mail about an unpaid debt. Should we return the call or just assume its not legitimate? I googled the number it came from and it does appear to be a legitimate debt collector.

JGoneRiding
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Re: Debt collector called, should we call them back?

Post by JGoneRiding » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:53 am

I would start with pulling my credit report and see if anything legitamently looks wrong with that. Don't worry they will call again :) though if it is legit these things are usually best dealt with right away.

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Mlm
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Re: Debt collector called, should we call them back?

Post by Mlm » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:00 pm

I wouldn't return the call. I have been contacted by debt collectors and it was always about someone other than myself. They wanted to know if I had a current phone number or an address of a relative. I was even contacted once regarding a neighbor that had moved.

david99
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Re: Debt collector called, should we call them back?

Post by david99 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:06 pm

If you call them, ask them to send you something in writing that can review/check with your records.

aristotelian
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Re: Debt collector called, should we call them back?

Post by aristotelian » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:18 pm

I am not a lawyer but I would probably return the call to see what it's all about. I don't see any harm in that. Do not give them your social security number or any identity information in case it is a scam. I would be worried about them escalating the bill the longer it goes on, especially if you think there is a possibility that you missed something.

Rupert
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Re: Debt collector called, should we call them back?

Post by Rupert » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:22 pm

I have called one back before because they kept calling me a hundred times a day. Turns out they were looking for someone else, someone with my same last name and first initial. I simply gave them my real first name, e.g., I'm Bob Smith, not Barbara Smith, and they stopped calling me.

nguy44
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Re: Debt collector called, should we call them back?

Post by nguy44 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:57 pm

I would return the call. You can start the call with something like "We received a call from your number, can you please explain what it is about?" without giving your name and info. If they have a valid name, ask for anything to be sent via mail, do you share any further personal info. If they are looking for someone else, just say you do not know who that is and this is not a number associated with that person.

bcjb
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Re: Debt collector called, should we call them back?

Post by bcjb » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:03 pm

We've sadly had this problem lately because of complicated medical bills. I've decided to deal directly with the providers to sort out any issues (mistakes, discrepancies, missed payments, wrong coding, etc) rather than with the debt collectors. Of course, that requires that you know which provider may have sent the bill to collections. (If there are any outstanding issues between providers and insurance, as is the case with us, the providers usually agree to put the account on hold if the insurance rep calls in to explain what the delay is about.)

delamer
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Re: Debt collector called, should we call them back?

Post by delamer » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:06 pm

JGoneRiding wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:53 am
I would start with pulling my credit report and see if anything legitamently looks wrong with that. Don't worry they will call again :) though if it is legit these things are usually best dealt with right away.
This makes sense, given that you think there is a possibility of a missed bill. If you then decide to contact the debt collector, tell them you'll only respond in the future to a written request for payment that describes the debt in detail.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Debt collector called, should we call them back?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:11 pm

Call them back.

We had a bill that went into collections because the hospital sent the bills to a very old address. Once we knew who was asking for money we called the provider. They pulled the bill back from collections and we paid the provider directly, and the provider never reported it to the credit agencies.

We have also had calls for people with similar names. Once you tell them you are not and don't know that person they quit calling, so it's worth the call to stop the nuisance.

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Watty
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Re: Debt collector called, should we call them back?

Post by Watty » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:30 pm

I have done both, but when you do they will try to get you to give them information like your Social Security. Give them no information since you do not know what they will do with it. Not giving them any information is normal so they are used to it. They will then ask you something like does your SS number end in 1234 and have you ever lived at 345 Main St. That is has far as I have gotten since when I said "no" they knew that they had the wrong person.

Here are some tips;
http://clark.com/consumer-issues-id-the ... ollectors/

If it your debt you then ask for them to send you a written verification of the debt so that you can figure out what is going on. Be sure to also work with the original company to make sure that the debt collector is actually working for them.

One thing to watch out for is that after a while debts become uncollectible, the details vary with the situation. They might come up with something like a medical bill that is five years old that is no longer collectable and they know it. The thing to watch out for is that if you pay even $1 on it that can reset the clock and make it collectable again.

If there is a valid debt that you want to pay then check with the original company and try to pay them. A potential problem is that if they get your checking account number or credit card number then they may charge you lots of other fees and claim that you approved it.

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dm200
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Re: Debt collector called, should we call them back?

Post by dm200 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:35 pm

Medical billing is a mess.

I would call them back and only provide some basic information identifying yourself. Then, ask for details about the debt and request that this be sent in writing - unless if can be easily cleared up on the phone.

likegarden
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Re: Debt collector called, should we call them back?

Post by likegarden » Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:10 pm

I would call around to see what's up. I once got contacted by a debt collector about a medical bill. That was the time I signed up for Medicare and was about a bill for a physical which is handled differently with Medicare. I called the doctor's office and paid them, which was OK with the debt collector.

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8foot7
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Re: Debt collector called, should we call them back?

Post by 8foot7 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:47 pm

Never speak with these people on the phone. In writing, certified mail, or it didn't happen.

palaheel
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Re: Debt collector called, should we call them back?

Post by palaheel » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:24 pm

I was once harassed by such people. They gave out no information about who they were pursuing; they only wanted me to provide my information in a futile hope that doing so would cross me off their hit list. Any resistance I displayed reinforced their "yeah, sure, buddy" attitude. I decided to offer no information, demand they never call me again (which, as I understand the law, they must comply with) and insist that any further communication be in writing. As they didn't have an accurate address for me, they eventually went away.

I don't approve of skipping out on legitimate bills, but I also don't approve of bullying and harassment. These people were sleaze.
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FCM
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Re: Debt collector called, should we call them back?

Post by FCM » Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:10 am

A number of years ago I received a call from a debt collector regarding an unpaid cell phone bill. They were very persistent, saying that I owed about $400 to a cell phone company as a result of my starting a new cell phone contract. However, none of us in the family had started a new cell phone contract. It appeared that someone had stolen my identity to start a new cell phone contract. I contacted the cell phone provider and got them to write me a letter absolving me of any responsibility for the obligation. I sent a copy of this to the debt collector, and that ended their attempt to get $400 out of me. Bottom line: Make sure you aren't the victim of identity theft.

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