When you fall behind on your bills, every ring of the phone can cause anxiety. The actions of collection agencies are aggressive by nature, and even those who follow the laws about bill collecting will disrupt your life with constant reminders of your bad financial state:
Collection agencies are hired by your creditors, such as a credit cards, banks or loan companies and are allowed by law to contact you an unlimited number of times about a debt, however they can only contact you between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Recently, scams involving fake debt collectors have surfaced. These fake collectors have somehow accessed your credit report, so they have the same information that a real collection agency has, such as the exact amount of your debt to a certain company, making them seem legitimate. It's in your best interest to know the facts about these fake debt collectors, so read on for information on dealing with this alarming situation.
Warming signs that indicate that you are dealing with a fake debt collector:
- Real collection agencies never tell you to contact your creditor for information. Once a real collector has the debt, it is their responsibility. If there is a question about the debt, a real collection agency will contact the creditor themselves. Many times fake collectors cannot answer detailed questions about the debt, because they don't have all the information.
- The caller demands payment that same day, and will threaten to file suit if payment is not made immediately. Real agencies will work with you and be somewhat flexible on payment arrangements.
- The caller only accepts a single form of payment, such as a credit card, wire transfer or money order.
- When you call the agency back, the same person you previously spoke with answers the phone immediately. When this occurs, it's likely that a single individual with a cell phone is harassing you.
- You cannot find any information on the collection agency. Either you cannot get any information at all or you are given fake names and addresses. You should always contact the original creditor if you have doubts; they should be happy to tell you the exact name and address of any legitimate collection agency.
- The caller threatens you with arrest. You cannot go to jail for owing money (with the exception of child support and tax debts). Legitimate collection agencies never resort to threats, rudeness, cursing, insults or other unprofessional behaviors.
If you use the guidelines above, you can help ensure that you are dealing with only legitimate debt collection agencies. If you are having trouble paying your bills and feel a mounting sense of hopelessness about your financial situation, contact a bankruptcy attorney.
Your attorney will meet with you and help you to decide if filing for bankruptcy is right for you. You can get immediate relief from debt collection actions, and begin to make plans for a fresh start. To learn more, contact a company like Dennis Lee Burman Attorney at Law with any questions you have.