Have you ever heard the phrase ‘debt is money’? While this feels true when you initially take out a loan or debt, it’s completely the opposite when you start defaulting on payments. When you don’t pay back a debt you owe, the lender has several legal ways to attempt to collect their payment from you.
As a debtor, you have rights, too. A lender can only go so far when seeking payment from you. Debt collectors must adhere to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which means they can’t use illegal debt collection methods against you. Read on to learn about common but illegal methods of debt collection and how to fight back.
1. HarassmentWhen you owe someone money, they have a right to attempt to contact you. That means they can reach out to you by phone, through e-mail, or by snail mail. They usually have this right because you likely provided your contact information when you took out the debt.
Despite that, lenders and debt collectors don’t have the right to harass you. Under no circumstances should they call your phone numerous times a day, reach out to you in the middle of the night, or contact you on your social media accounts.
2. Talking to a Third-Party About Your DebtIt’s uncomfortable enough to get a call on your cell phone about a debt you owe. That embarrassment is ten-fold when that phone call gets directed to a third-party, though. Lenders and debt collectors should never reach out to other people about your debt. It’s against the law for them to discuss what you owe with:
· Your employer
· Your clients
· Family members
This type of tactic is all-too-common, but it is illegal. A good lawyer will make your lenders and debt collectors cease this type of activity immediately.
3. ThreatsHas a debt collector ever threatened to send the police to your home? This type of egregious threatening isn’t acceptable under any circumstances. Don’t allow a debt collector to get away with threatening to contact third-parties about your debt or take you to jail. If a lender threatens you with bodily harm, then you need to seek out legal representation immediately. Neither civil court nor criminal court takes this type of behavior lightly.
4. Lying About Their IdentityAnother common but illegal debt collection tactic is to attempt to bait you into giving away your identity or bank information to them by concealing their identity. A common way that they pull this off is by reaching out to you by phone or e-mail and pretending to be someone else.
Debt collectors are required by law to identify themselves and tell you who they work for. They aren’t permitted to pretend to be with a police department, the government, or a law firm.