I’d like to tell you five debt collection tactics that really crossed the line.
Number 1: Trying to collect from dead people. Some debt collection agencies specialize in deceased debt and tried to collect from surviving relatives or from dead people’s estates. Unless a person is married to you you’re not responsible for that debt. The debt collectors can contact the person handling their estate but the rest is off-limits.
Number 2: Failing to notify that you’re being sued. It’s called gutter service and it works like this. You’re supposed to be notified and the summons and complaint supposed to be mailed to you, but some of them throw the complaint in the gutter, get a default judgment against you, and proceed to collect it through garnishment or other means. Some states like New York have tried to put a stop to this by notifying consumers themselves and imposing other requirements.
Number 3: Social media, sometimes debt collectors use fake identities to connect with people on social media. They could even go further and post about your debt on social media accounts or try to contact you your Facebook friends. It’s illegal for debt collectors to pretend to be someone they’re not or to tell another person about your debt. But that sometimes doesn’t stop them.
Number 4: Intimidating service members. There have been so many instances of debt collectors targeting men and women in uniform. They’ll call the commanders and say they’re being court-martialed and the like. That’s illegal.
Number 5: Misrepresenting legal proceedings. Debt collection agencies can’t send consumers documents that falsely appear to be from courts, but many do and some debt collection agencies have been held to task on that. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Debt collection agencies frequently violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Sometimes they do it by repeatedly calling you or harassing you, threatening you with lawsuits, failing to tell you that they’re debt collectors, calling you at work, talking to others about the debt, or lying to you. If your FDCPA rights have been violated, you may be entitled to a thousand bucks.