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There are many general things you can look for to determine if something is a scam or not.  Not all of these signs are in every scam, but all scams will have at least some of these warning signs.

A sense of urgency: The scammer will make you feel as if you need to do something IMMEDIATELY, without thinking about it first.  In extreme cases they may even do something which activates a type of "figh-or-flight" response.  When your brain is in this mode your first response will be action, not careful consideration.

Play to your natural curiosity: The scammer will give you only slight hints about the purpose of the contact.  If you want to know more you have to call the number, click the link or download the attachment.

Be extremely helpful: While we all like to think that people are generally good and want to help each other out the cold, hard reality is that corporations don't hire people just to help you out for free.  If someone is being extremely helpful and isn't asking for anything in return they're likely in the "setup" part of the scam.  After that part comes the "ask" part where they tell you what they want.

Be very rude: Believe it or not, this is a ploy scammers often use.  If someone is being rude to you while making some claim that you've done something wrong it puts you on the defensive.  It makes you feel as if they have a reason to be angry with you, as if you did do something wrong.  It is illegal for debt collectors to use profanity or be abusive.

Demand immediate action: If someone wants you to do something right now or today, they probalby don't want you to think about it first.

Ask for unusual form of payment: There is a reason scammers don't want to accept your major credit card for payment and would prefer you use Western Union or some sort of prepaid debit card to pay.  The reason is that, once you discover you have been scammed, it is as impossible to get your money back as it would be if you had handed them cash.  Major credit card companies are huge corporations with deep pockets.  They have ways of getting the money back from scammers.  But Moneypak, a popular card scammers asked for just a couple of years ago, draws money directly from your own funds.  They don't have the profits which credit card companies do.  They make money in 3 ways: when you put money on the card, when you spend money from the card and, sometimes, monthly "maintanence" fees.  Persuing the scammer and getting that money back costs money and loses them the percentage they took from you spending it, so they just don't do it.  As a general rule of thumb, if they won't take a check (cashier's check), money transfer or major credit card it is a scammer.

Threaten you in any way: It is common for scammers, including rogue debt collectors, to threaten you with arrest.  If someone is threatening you with arrest if you do not pay them you can be certain they would be the ones in cuffs if the police actually got involved.  This is illegal.

If you are being harrassed by a scammer you may or may not be able to do something about it, depending on the particular scam.  If it's a rogue debt collector you definitely have some options.  If it's some scammer from Pakistan your legal options are limited.

First you have to determine the type of scam it is.  Is a debt collector using abusive language, threatening you with arrest and calling you 10 times a night?  Or is it someone with a thick accent telling you that there is a problem with your computer that needs immediate attention?

For the former, talk to your lawyer.  To boost your case you can start recording your phone calls.  For a cell phone this is easy.  There are several call recording apps readily available.  Iowa is a "one party consent" state, meaning that it is legal to record any conversation where one party of the conversation (you) agrees to the recording.  Then live with it for a while.  The more violations the rogue collector racks up the bigger the eventual settlement will be.  If he is using abusive language, threatening to have you arrested, calling outside of allowed hours, calling multiple times a day, etc. then each recording you make will be dollar signs to your lawyer.

For the latter, talk to your telephone company.  If you can identify the number which is calling you they may be able to get the line, and perhaps even the scam operation itself shut down.

If you're not sure what to do you should seek out advice from someone who knows something on the subject.  This will usually be a lawyer, but remember, legal advice is rarely free.  Sometimes you can get advice from your local police station, but  do keep in mind their experience is usually with local crime, not interstate or intercontinental crime.  They are usually happy to help in any way they can, but more often than not they won't know any more about what you should do than you do because that's not their area of expertise.  Still, they might have some advice, including advice on who else you might contact about it who may know more about the subject.

Finally, if you are unsure about something for any reason, DO NOT PAY.  If you ACTUALLY have a bill which is 90 days past due does it really make that big a difference if it becomes 91 days past due?  Take some time to think about it and consider how you feel about the situation.  Did you feel in any way uncomfortable, afraid or defensive during the conversation?  If it's a bill collector, do you remember the bill?  Just because a bill collector calls you does not mean you actually owe anything.  Increasingly bill collectors are trying to collect from people other than the person who actually owes the bill.  If you have a similar name, sometimes if you just have the same last name, they may try to collect from you instead of the actual debtor.  And if the bill is very old the collector may have no options for collection other than to get you to willingly agree to pay it.  One very common scam right now is for shady bill collectors to try to collect "zombie debt", debt which is past the statute of limitations so it cannot appear on your credit report and no legal action can be taken to collect it.  It is very common for collectors to try to collect this type of debt from people other than the actual person who owed the bill.  As debt is passed from one debt collection agency to another information is lost and they may have nothing more to go on than a name.  Just because it's your name doesn't mean it's your debt.