Richard Drew, Associated Press

The job of collection agencies is to settle a debt, but sometimes they use unethical and illegal ways to do so. Take a look at these five scams pointed out by Investopedia to know if you are being treated fairly by agencies.

Reports for scams, threats or harassment should be reported to the Fair Trade Commision at 1-866-653-4261.

Collecting an old debt
Richard Drew, Associated Press

With debt that is beyond the state's statute of limitations, debt collectors can't sue you for it. Although you may still have to pay it, the only action collectors can do is report the old debt to major credit bureaus.

Unethical re-aging

After the seven-year limitation, some collections use the unethical practice of re-aging an account. This means they continue hurting the credit report even after the limit.

Debt tagging

Sometimes collection agencies will link a debt to someone but not verify their identity first. If you are incorrectly linked, it can affect your credit. Watch out for this by reviewing your credit report yearly.

Criminal charge threats

Collection agencies sometimes threaten legal action against consumers. Threats for charges like fraud, grand theft, check fraud and others are illegal. They can be reported to the Fair Trade Commission.

Issues that are consumer-related are not punishable in a criminal court. They are just used as a scare tactic.

Junk debt buyers

When you accept a company to pay down an old debt that is close to the statute of limitations, it renews the statute and the agency can keep billing you for the remaining balance.

Never give your Social Security Number, bank account information, credit card number or other private information to a junk debt buyer. Legitimate collection agencies will have your identifying information already and will perhaps need you to verify the last 4 digits of you Social Security Number.