If you have searched news stories in recent months you have come across reports of people experiencing severe debt collection consequences over debts they do not owe. Some are being sued by collectors and others have experienced liens on their homes; all over debts that are false accused. How can this happen? Some debt collectors simply have wrong information, while others are out to scam a quick buck.
Debt collectors are taking on new tactics for attempting to collect on a debt, many of which are supposed to be prohibited. Threats of violence, lawsuits, and even jail time are not uncommon among some collectors. For consumers, these threats can strike fear in their hearts and lead them to pay debts they don’t even owe. Whether you are the victim of an innocent case of misinformation on the debt collectors part or becoming the target of a scam it is important that you always verify the debt in question. Ask for written verification of the debt, how much is allegedly owed, who the original creditor is, and when they debt was accumulated. A sure sign of a scam is the failure to provide this information. In either case, contact your original lender to also verify the debt is accurate and only arrange payment terms with your lender directly. Do not give a third party collector any personal or financial information over the phone.
Stopping The Abuse
Consumers are urged to know their rights when it comes to debt collections. Collectors are prohibited by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act from:
- call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- contact you at work if you’ve told them verbally or in writing that your employer doesn’t allow you to get such calls in the workplace
- harass or abuse you or anyone else they contact about you
- lie about the amount you owe
- use deceptive methods to collect a debt from you.
- falsely claim to be law enforcement officers
- claim that you’ll be arrested if you don’t pay your debt
- threaten to seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or your wages – unless they are permitted by law to do it and intend to do so
- give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit reporting company
- use a fake company name
Contact the Federal Trade Commission to report any violations of these guidelines. Protect your information and yourself by using common sense. Don’t be bullied into paying someone over the phone out of fear. Contact a New Albany bankruptcy lawyer to review your rights and put a stop to debt collections right away.