Monday, January 23, 2012

Avoid Collection Scams by Knowing Your Rights

At some point, everyone incurs debt. However, how many times have you or a loved one encountered an actual debt collector? For some, talking with a debt collector can easily become a negative experience. For that reason, it is extremely important that you know your rights when dealing with a collection agency.

First off, do your research. Before you talk to any collection agency, make sure to verify that they are a legitimate organization. Scam-artists that claim to work for collection agencies are constantly popping-up all across the country, and unfortunately many have been successful. Be sure to ask the debt collector for a legitimate address, (not a P.O. Box,) and phone number before giving out any information. If the collection agency cannot provide any of that information, it is probable that they are a scam.

These scammers are also notorious for using scare tactics to intimidate their victims into settling a “debt” quickly and without a paper trail.  According to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), it is required by law that the collection agency give you, in writing, proof of the debt you owe within five days after calling. Do not allow the debt collector to force you into paying anything over the phone or online.

After you’ve made sure the collection agency is not a scam, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the fair debt laws provided by the FDCPA. For example, it is illegal for any debt collection agency to contact you late at night or early in the morning and it is also illegal for them to contact you at work if you have formally asked them to stop. Knowing these laws will ensure your protection against unlawful treatment by collection agencies.

If you feel you are being harassed by a collection agency, or if you know of one committing unlawful acts, it is important to tell someone. Visit our website to learn more about your rights when it comes to collection agencies, and do not hesitate to contact Credit Advocates Law Firm if you feel you are being scammed or treated unfairly. 

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