Recognizing and Dealing with Sketchy Debt Collector Tactics
Every year there are thousands of people that are victimized by fraudulent collectors, and are intimidated by tactics that are extremely abusive so that they often end up paying the debt simply to stop the harassment of themselves, as well as their family, friends and employers. However, even if you fall behind on paying your bills you don’t have to subject yourself to foul play. State laws as well as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides a very strict set of rules that bill collectors are required to follow. It’s critical to keep in mind that you have rights. Your best way to deal with fraudulent debt collectors is to recognize and then fight back when these collectors cross the line.
You Receive a Cold Call
Collectors will often phone anyone in the country that has the same name as someone that is in debt without making sure that it is the right person that owes them money. As soon as you receive a cold call ask the collector for the company’s name as well as the address and then proceed to hang up. You will have thirty days to ask for verification that the debt is your own by law. The collector must send you the address and the name of the company that the money is owed. On top of this, they must give you notification of your right to dispute the claim in full or in part. If it isn’t your debt then the agency must stop all collection efforts.
Your Credit Rating is Threatened
Fraudulent collectors tend to intimidate people by informing them that their debts will wreck their credit report and lay ruins to their rating for years to come. They may even threaten to inform your other lenders and mortgage banks of your debt. Some will even fake a call from a credit bureau employee in order to make them sound like they are official. Legitimate debts that go into collections will become part of your credit rating, however the ones that you aren’t responsible for should have no effect on it. If the debt is not yours then you must report it to the credit bureaus.
They Threaten to Garnish Your Wages
This is a very common line from fraudulent bill collectors, as they want you to believe that they can take your money from you so that you’ll pay them on the spot. However, wages can only be garnished when the original creditors take the case to court and wins. Due to this, it’s important that you never hand out your bank account or any other type of financial information that would let scam artists get money from you.
They Tell You You’re Going to Jail
This is one of the scariest threats that collectors will attempt, however it is all just one big fat lie. Being in debt is not against the law, and there is no such thing as a debtors’ prison in the United States. If you ever hear this line from a debtor then you can inform the collector that what they’re doing is illegal, and you are going to contact your state attorney general’s office and FTC in order to file a complaint. Make sure that you follow through, as the more that you fight back the more protection you’ll receive.
Keep in mind that there are two types of bill collectors. The first is the legitimate agencies that work with credit card companies, banks, retailers and other such businesses. They will go after late bills by sending letters and then keeping as much as 25% of what is collected. The second is the type of agency that will bundle poorly documented and old debts for as little as pennies to the dollar so that they can reap the profits no matter if they can only recoup a small fraction of the debt. These collectors are after the money, and will intimidate and threaten in order to get what they want.