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Are you getting calls about your debt but are unsure whether they are legitimate? Sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate between phony and real debt collectors. Sometimes, credit card issues may hire third-party debt collectors, and they may be intimidating, but that does not necessarily mean it is a scam.

So how do you know if you are falling victim to a debt collection scam? Here are three warning signs the person calling you is trying to dupe you out of your cash:

1. You are getting threatened with criminal charges

Is the person calling you threatening you with jail time? According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), this is a warning sign you are the target of a debt collection scam. Legitimate debt collectors generally do not make these threats or act like government officials. If the person on the other end of the call is talking about criminal charges or jail time, think twice.

2. You do not receive contact information

To verify the legitimacy of a debt collector, ask the caller to give you their name, business they work for, telephone number and mailing address. A true debt collector would have no problem giving you this information. If the caller is not willing to give you these details, you might be dealing with a scam artist.

3. You must pay via an untraceable method

Real debt collectors typically accept various payment methods, such as with a check, credit card or debit card. If the caller is asking you to pay via a wire transfer, you need to second-guess the validity of the collection. Wire transfers cannot be traced as easily as other payment methods.

If you notice these signs, stop talking to the caller. If the debt exists but you suspect the collector is not legitimate, contact your creditor and find out if they have authorized anyone to collect the debt.