Melanie McGovern, Communications Director for the BBB of WNY, said the first thing people should do if they get a call from a questionable bill collector on a debt they don't recognize is to request a validation letter.
McGovern said by law, bill collectors must respond within 5 days or you do not have to pay the debt. A validation letter needs to detail how the debt was incurred and who took ownership of the debt. Often, bill collectors will buy up notes on debt and then call people, regardless of whether the debt was previously settled. It cannot just be a note saying you owe a certain amount of money.
It is important to keep records on any loan, credit card, medical bill, student loan and mortgage that you have paid in full.
Threats and intimidation from bill collectors should be reported to the BBB, NYS Attorney General and the FTC.