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Many will recall getting fraudulent emails from a fake Nigerian prince asking for help transferring money. While that scam is over ten years old and apparently still effective, tech-savvy fraudsters continue to evolve in their approach to stealing from their victims. We all need to remain vigilant about scams, but are debt collectors now able to use text or email rather than the traditional approaches of mail or telephone calls?

The new law says yes

There is a new law that updates the precise rules about collecting overdue payments. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently updated the rules for contacting consumers who owe money. The collector cannot contact the consumer more than seven times each week, though this adds up if debts are owed to various entities who contact a collection service. The changes fail to put a cap on such modern methods as texts or emails, so do not be surprised to get these messages.

How to know if they are valid

As with any modern-day scam, any request to pay by money transfer or a pre-paid card is a red flag. Moreover, the collector still cannot threaten to have the potential victim arrested for not paying, notify the potential victim’s employer, or even ask other family members to pay. As before, ask for contact information, including a callback number, company name and address. Potential victims should also check the collector’s email address and their web site. This can help validate their claim.

Can consumers stop these legal messages?

During these difficult economic times here in 2020, many are struggling to pay their bills. Hopefully, the downturn will end in the coming year as life returns to normal, but some cannot or should not wait. Filing bankruptcy can stop legal collectors from contacting consumers. It can also better financially position families to be ready when things get back to normal.