Dealing with debt collectors often serves as a difficult and traumatic experience even when they follow all of the rules. Unfortunately, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) ended up implemented because many of them do not.

For example, harassing behavior is a common issue among debt collectors who would use unfair and cruel tactics. But how does this manifest, and how can you identify it?

Blatant harassment through aggression

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau examines debt collector harassment. The FDCPA bans harassing behavior as part of the many protections it offers to those who suffer from debt. But in order to understand if your FDCPA rights have ended up violated, you first need to know what harassment looks like.

First, harassment is sometimes very blatant and aggressive and may include threats toward you or others living in your home. Debt collectors may use vulgar, crude or harsh language and make graphic threats involving your eviction and subsequent homelessness, and the experiences that may befall you after you lose your house.

Other harassing behaviors

Harassing behavior does not involve direct contact, though. A popular method of harassment involves repeated phone calls during “off hours”, or hours that fall outside of the typical 9 to 5 work shift. In addition to calling ridiculously early in the morning or late at night, harassing debt collectors may also refuse to identify themselves in messages, adding to a sense of unease.

Some even take it far enough to actually stalk their victims, parking outside of their property and simply watching from a distance as they go about their day.

If you experience any of these scenarios, you likely have undergone harassment and should seek legal aid as you look for protection under FDCPA.