Consumers across the United States have received frightening calls from debt collectors saying that they are "a person of interest." Such scripted messages are one of the many scare tactics that debt collection companies employ to intimidate people who may or may not even owe the money. Some companies purchase debts in bulk and then try to collect on them, but often they do not contact the accurate individual. West Michigan Better Business Bureau's Phil Catlett says scripted messages often try to imply that legal action will be taken if a consumer fails to respond. However, the use of such legal or authoritative language "is a direct violation of the laws unless they truly have something in order to file legal action with," Catlett explains. Consumers who receive such contact from debt collectors can demand -- in writing, and within 30 days of the first call -- that the collector prove in writing that the money is actually owed by the targeted individual. Consumers also can tell a debt collector in writing to stop calling.