The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was designed to put a stop to the abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices that many Americans had experienced.
Debt collectors have strict guidelines that they must adhere to or be at risk of expensive fines or even be shut down by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The FTC monitors debt collectors, making sure they do their job within the guidelines set forth by the FDCPA. If your rights have been violated by a debt collector, as a consumer you have the right to file a lawsuit of up to $1,000 against the collector.
You can also file a complaint with the FTC about the illegal activities as well.
Debt collectors are held to strong ethical codes. Therefore, if they misrepresent themselves or threaten you, they are violating federal laws.
They could find themselves in serious trouble for their sneaky tactics that are being used to try to collect for an overdue bill.
Misrepresentation is a Shady Tactic
Many people have fallen victim to a shady tactic of unethical debt collectors. When you receive a call from a debt collector, the individual has to identify himself or herself and tell you who they are working for, which means the name of the company.
Unfortunately, many people employed by debt collectors have begun misrepresenting themselves.
Consumers have complained about debt collectors making calls to them and pretending to be someone else.
There have been instances where debt collectors have pretended to be government employees, such as the police or staff from the IRS. They pretend to be someone who they are not in order to intimidate the consumer in an attempt to get money from them.
Misrepresentation is Illegal
Debt collectors also pretend to be lawyers or someone coming to serve a warrant in order to convince the debtor to make payments to them. Remember, debt collection agencies are paid a percentage of the amount of the debt that they collect.
Therefore, many are willing to go to extremes – illegal extremes – to make some cash.
These attempts are not legal or legitimate, and you don't have to put up with them
Usually, those misrepresenting who they are accompany their claims by adding in a threat. As an example, the debt collector may claim to be a police officer or an attorney who is coming to throw you in jail or make your neighbors aware that you are past due on a debt.
That is also illegal, so once the threat has been made two laws have been broken.
What You Should do as a Consumer
If you are the victim of illegal tactics of a debt collector, you should take action! Notify the FTC with the specific details, such as the number from which the call was placed, the name they used, what debt they were claiming they were collecting, and what time and date they called.
Remember, a police officer is not going to call you to collect a past due debt. They are busy handling crime. Past due debts are handled in civil court.
You may also want to consider filing a lawsuit against the collector for violating the FDCPA. Most importantly, know your rights and don’t fall prey to illegal collectors! Don’t give them any money or provide them with personal information or bank account data. If you are being harassed by debt collectors, you should consult with a creditor harassment attorney to ensure your rights are protected.