This is an interesting question, mainly because sometimes it’s easier to prove something IS easier than something IS NOT. For example, do you like broccoli? Yes? Can you prove it? No? Can you prove it? Food for thought (no pun intended): Eating broccoli does not prove you like it, it just proves you ate it. NOT eating it doesn’t prove you don’t like it, it just proves you didn’t eat it. Making a face to show your displeasure with the broccoli just proves you can make a face. Enough of the silly (but accurate) analogy. Here’s a few things to consider:
- MOST companies in this industry will not mail you anything if they’re scamming you. In addition to the fraud they’re already perpetrating, they’re adding Mail Fraud into the mix which is an extremely serious crime. We mail our customers a letter before doing anything else! And we mail out hundreds at a time. (It doesn’t PROVE we’re not a scam though. It just proves we use the USPS to communicate.)
- MOST companies in this industry that are scamming you aren’t going to have a RESOURCES tab encouraging you to communicate with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a government agency that investigates matters of fraud, among other free consumer services. (It doesn’t PROVE we’re not a scam though. It just proves we share information on our website that may be useful.
- LEGITIMATE companies do not leave voice mail messages with specific details of your account unless you have given them permission to do so. They also do not contact relatives and share details. (It’s legal to contact neighbors and relatives ONCE to try to locate you, but they can’t share any information about your debt.)
- LEGITIMATE companies NEVER make threatening statements or leave threatening voice mail messages. Some examples include threatening to show up at your place of employment, threatening to call your boss and tell them you have an unpaid bill, and one of our personal “favorites”, threatening to have a warrant issued for your arrest at the end of the business day if you don’t pay X amount. (If you ever get a voice mail message like that, SAVE IT. You may have a legal claim against the company that left the message.) We should amend this slightly to say that a LEGITIMATE company will take immediate corrective action against any employee that does do any of this. In other words, legitimate companies sometimes have a rogue employee or two. Most of us can relate to that.
- Google is a wonderful tool. Enter our phone number 1-800-657-5785 into Google and you’ll see more than one of our website pages in the search results as well as several of those websites that tell you who is calling from a certain number. We find in most cases, when a customer provides us a phone number that they had on their caller ID or were given to call, and we search it in Google, it rarely connects to the company’s website (if they even have one) and it often has many of those “who is calling me from” websites that show tons of comments about the calls being scams. Check that stuff out!!
- Check out https://cfpb.gov and search our company (or any other company that contacted you). Side note, presently you will only find us under Diversified Company, our parent company, but nonetheless, that’s us. When the rare inquiry comes in, we respond very quickly and so far, all inquires were either a misunderstanding (because a customer thought we were calling when it was a scammer) OR because they picked the wrong “Diversified” to submit an inquiry to. You will be amazed at the detailed information you can find out about legitimate and scam companies! REPORTING MATTERS!! Being scammed? THINK you’re being scammed? FILE A COMPLAINT and let the company do the rest. Yes, even if that’s our company you want to file a complaint against. WE HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE! (Note: Even a company with numerous resolved complaints is NOT NECESSARILY a legitimate company. It just means they address complaints quickly. You should more be looking for a pattern of behavior and complaints.)
- The good ol’ BBB… Better Business Bureau. This information was added March 19, 2018, updated March 27, 2018. In our near ELEVEN years in business, the BBB has received NO complaints about this or any other division of our company. As a result, you could search for our company and not even find us. We’re fixed that. (The being able to find us part, that is.) We requested that the BBB list our company, which can be confirmed at THIS LINK. On March 19, 2018, we applied for BBB Accreditation, which was awarded on March 23, 2018. BUT, in the interest of full disclosure, once again, this DOES NOT PROVE that we are not scamming you. (We’re not, but we’re making a point here.) Granted, accreditation is proof that the BBB believes we are a legitimate company, BUT, there are companies listed with the BBB (typically not accredited, but sometimes are and the status hasn’t been revoked) that ARE in fact scamming, or went from a legitimate company to a scammer. Much like the CFBP, look for the behavior and patterns of complaints. Some of the most legitimate companies may have HUNDREDS of complaints flow in. The bigger you are, the more likely it is to happen, especially in the financial world. BUT legitimate companies, address these matters, and the pattern where the CONSUMER has accepted the resolution is a pattern to look for. The BBB, if it receives validated information, may also report governmental actions against a company. The BBB, who is not paying us to say this, is an AWESOME resource for the consumer. It’s a great place to check to protect yourself or to complain about a company you feel has done you wrong.
Now, these are just some tips for you to be aware of. A customer recently commented that we MUST be a legitimate company because of the professionalism of our letters, website, other forms, and overall demeanor. Believe it or not, in addition to thanking the customer for the compliment, here’s what else we had to say: We’ve seen and heard some calls, documents, and tactics used by scammers, and often times even the forms they use are lazily designed and even contain spelling errors, in one case, of their own website address! One could say that a GOOD scammer (good, defined as a successful scammer, not a good company) should take the time to do everything our customer complimented us for. It’s not rocket science to make a website look pretty and make it functional. It’s also not the early 1980’s where a typesetter was commonly hired to design forms. Microsoft Word® is a wonderful program making it possible to design some awesome forms. All that said, YES, we are a legitimate company, BUT, it’s not because we have a pretty and functional website and professional forms. It’s because WE RUN A LEGITIMATE COMPANY, and we work hard to maintain our standards and exceed customer expectations day in, day out. So the proof… the proof that we are not a scam… After reading all that, it still boils down to YOUR opinion and OUR actions. Hold us to high standards! Actually, you’ll find you don’t have to. We hold ourselves there already. So, basically, to that customer, we said, thank you for the compliments, however TRUST, but VERIFY.