Identifying Unscrupulous Debt Collectors

man with glasses screaming If you are past due on your student loan payments, you are likely being harassed by a debt collector urging you to pay your debt. Anyone who is dealing with debt collection agents should know how to identify unscrupulous or unlawful behavior. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was created to protect consumers by setting forth certain collection tactics that are unlawful. In general, the FDCPA prohibits collectors from using unfair, deceptive or abusive practices to collect money from borrowers.

Any party who routinely collects consumer debts owed to others is considered a debt collector under the FDCPA. This includes lawyers who regularly collect debts, collection agencies and companies that purchase past due accounts and attempt to collect them.

The FTC website provides numerous examples of collection tactics that are prohibited, but below is a summary:

  • Harassment. A debt collector is prohibited from threatening a borrower with violence if they do not pay the debt. A collector cannot use profanity, repeatedly contact the debtor in order to irritate him/her into paying, or make threats that cannot be legally carried out (such as threatening to publicly humiliate them by publishing the borrower’s name if payment is not received).
  • Unfair practices. A debt collector may not engage in unfair practices such as attempting to collect amounts that are not authorized by contract or law, depositing post-dated checks early, contacting the borrower by postcard or other public forum, and threatening to seize the borrower’s assets (unless allowed by law or contract).
  • False statements. A collector cannot lie about their identity, who they work for, the total amount owed on the debt, actions they can take to collect the debt, or allege the borrower has committed a crime by not paying the debt. Also, a debt collector cannot provide third-parties, including a credit reporting bureau, with false credit information about the borrower.

If you are being harassed by a debt collection agent that is using unlawful tactics, let us help. We can not only verify that you are not being scammed, but we can also help ensure that the unlawful activity stops. In certain cases, you may have the ability to sue the collector for damages!

Please keep in mind that every matter is different. If you have questions about your student loan debt and you would like to schedule a no-cost consultation to discuss your options, please contact our office by completing the form on this website or calling us at (954) 280-5066

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