FTC: Tennessee 10th highest state for fraud reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - Tennessee has the 10th highest rate per capita in the United States for fraud and other reports, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance's Division of Consumer Affairs says Tennessee consumers lost $13.7 million last year. The top three complaint areas were debt collection, imposter scams and identity theft. 

For identity theft, Tennessee ranks 24th in the country. The top three are credit card fraud, employment or tax related fraud and bank fraud.

The Division of Consumer Affairs and the state Collections Board wants to remind Tennesseans to be wary of unscrupulous and illegal practices by debt collection agencies. Debt collectors may not do any of the following things:

  • Use threats of violence or harm.
  • Publish a list of names of people who refuse to pay their debts (but they can give this information to the credit reporting companies).
  • Use obscene or profane language.
  • Repeatedly use phone communication to annoy you.
  • Contact you at inconvenient or unusual time periods (Between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. is considered acceptable).
  • Contact you at work if the collector knows, or has reason to know, the employer prohibits such communication.
  • Contact you after you provided a notice in writing that you wish the communication to cease.
  • Debt collectors may not lie when they are trying to collect a debt. For example, they may not:
    • Falsely claim that they are attorneys or government representatives;
    • Falsely claim that you have committed a crime;
    • Falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit reporting company;
    • Misrepresent the amount you owe.

To check the status of a collection agency’s license, visit verify.tn.gov or file a complaint related to a licensee here.

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