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How To Recognize Illegal Debt Collection Efforts

According to the Federal Trade Commission, complaints against abusive collection companies rose to 17% in 2010 with nearly 150,000 complained filed individually. However, the unrecorded number of complaints against abusive collectors could be much higher simply because debtors have very little idea about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA that they don’t even know their rights have been violated.

Under the FDCPA, several practices are deemed illegal. You need to know how to recognize such practices to protect your rights.

Harassment

Most debt collection companies would harass debtors into paying the money they owe because this provides faster results. Often, they will launch a series of collection calls and even threaten or intimidate people into paying the debt without proof that the other part indeed, owes them money.

Under the FDCPA, debt collectors cannot call debtors early in the morning or beyond 9 in the evening in the debtors’ time zone. Debt collectors can no longer call to the debtor’s office to collect. They cannot make excessive and repeated phone calls.

Threats, Abusive Language

This is another common collection strategy that many debt collectors use in the past. Today, debt collectors can no longer swear, use foul language or resort to name calling just to get you to pay the debt. They can no longer scare you into paying by threatening you with property lien, wage garnishment or filing a credit card lawsuit. Debt collectors do not have the authority to garnish wages, put lien on properties or get access from someone’s bank account unless they filed a credit card lawsuit and won the case. If they threaten you with a credit card lawsuit and they failed to follow through, they are in violation of the FDCPA and should be reprimanded.

Misrepresentation

Debt collectors have to identify himself as a debt collector and not make the other party believe he is otherwise. Some collectors try to pose as a police officer, a lawyer and even as a court officer to scare debtors into paying the debt.

Intimidation

Debt collectors can no longer use intimidation as a way to embarrass debtors into paying the debt. They can no longer talk to your neighbor, employer, landlords or relatives to discuss your financial troubles or worse, share confidential information about the debt. Debt collectors can only contact the debtors and should only talk to you about sensitive information pertaining to the debt and no one else. Whichever way they put it, they are essentially bill collectors, nothing else.

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