5 RULES TO PROTECT YOURSELF WHEN A DEBT COLLECTOR CALLS
Debt collection is a netherworld of publicly traded companies, hedge fund operators, street hustlers, professional debt collectors, ex-cons and lawyers all working together to collect defaulted and deficient debt. It is described as an often lawless marketplace where debt is purchased by these people through spreadsheets holding names, contact information and balances where they are bought, sold, and stolen.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ranked debt collection as the second ranked complaint made to them, with identity theft being the first. In the year 2009, the FTC, the investigative agency overseeing debt collections at that time, brought just one enforcement action for violations of the FDCPA. Just one!
It is estimated that the American consumer owes a total of $11.28 trillion. According to some studies, $831 Billion is delinquent or unpaid, which affects 30 million consumers.
Why do I tell you this?
You have to defend yourself against some of these unscrupulous and nefarious Machiavellians.
There is a recent book I wrote entitled Debt Collectors: Lies, Damn Lies, and Deceit. If you would like to pick up a copy of this book, click here.
The 5 rules to protect yourself when a debt collector calls:
- When debt collectors call on the phone, never give them any personal information. That includes your address, any other phone number, validating any social security number, where you work, what you do for a living, whether you’re employed, etc. All of this helps them collect the debt. And you don’t know if they have the right to collect it. You may owe a debt: you just may not owe it to them.
- Tell them you want them to send you the Dun/Dunning Letter. If they ask you what that is, hang up on them because more than likely, they are a fraud. For your knowledge, according to the FDCPA, upon first substantive contact, a debt collector must send you a notice telling you who they are, whether they own the debt or were assigned the debt, how much is the debt and who the debt is from. They are given 5 days to send you the Dun Letter. They must also give you 30 days to respond to their claims and to challenge their right to collect on this debt. This must be done PRIOR to reporting it to a credit bureau(s).
- Challenge their right to collect on this debt. They must have indisputable proof they own this debt, or have the right to collect on it, to include the contract you signed with the original creditor, and any payments made to the original creditor.
- If they continue to call, or even after the first call, send them a Cease and Desist notice, which should stop them from calling you. If they continue to call, keep a spreadsheet of when they call, the number they called from, the length of the call and a description of the call. If your state allows and you have the ability, tape the phone call. Even if the FTC does not or cannot respond to your claims, the better choice might be to contact an Attorney that specializes in Fair Debt Collection Practices Act violations. One of the best Attorneys in this field is Mark Vavreck, Esq at cgmvlaw.com. He is one of the foremost authorities in this field.
- If you choose to pay them after they have validated the debt, never pay them over the telephone. And never pay them with your credit card or your checking account. Always pay them by using a cashier’s check or a bank note from your bank. Never have them talk you into paying the debt by saying “we will put on the credit report as “paid in full”.” What they do is put it on your report as “paid in full-less than full balance”. Not good. If you do pay, please know that your credit score will go down. More on that at another time.
I truly hope this helps. If you need help, always contact Credit Genius and we will give you a hand in defending you and your credit rights.
“Credit so clean, people will want to steal it”