If you are struggling to cope with inadequate employment and income along with a pile of debt, the last thing you need is to be taken in by an unscrupulous debt collector. It is important to become knowledgeable about tricks that dishonest debt collectors can try to pull on you and how you can protect yourself.
Getting You to Pay a Debt Twice
If you have gotten any payday loans in the past, beware. There have been people claiming to work for collection agencies that get payday loan customers' names off of their websites and then harass the customers so much, they end up paying the debt twice.
Reneging on a Payoff Deal
A legitimate but unscrupulous collection agency may offer to let you pay a lesser amount than what you owe or reduce collection fees as a complete payoff if you pay them within a few days or a week.
Then they could continually call and demand you call them while waiting to receive the payment, or even after. If you object, or fail in some small detail to do exactly as they demand, they will tell you they have canceled the agreement and that you still owe the remaining balance, even though you already sent the payment.
Asking You to Send a Post-dated Check
Consumers have reported that some debt collectors have coerced them into sending a payment on their debt with a post-dated check. Then they cash the check earlier than the date on the check. When it bounces, they then threaten to turn the debtors over to the police unless they pay their debts in full.
If you know you paid a debt, don't let anyone intimidate you into paying something you do not owe. If you are receiving threats to your person, your family or pets, contact the police. Other threats and harassment can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
If you agree to make a partial (or full) payment to a collection agency after an offer to wipe out your debt, you should do four things and they are:
- Call or write your original creditor and make sure they are using this particular collection agency.
- Be sure to use a money order or cashier's check.
- Write "Debt Paid in Full" along with the account number and specific information about the debt.
- Make a photo-copy of your payment before you send it and keep it for your records. (If the collection agency or original creditor cashes it, they have just agreed that the debt was paid in full and can no longer legally collect on the debt.)
As a general precaution, is not particularly wise to pay debt collectors with personal checks or to allow them to take an automatic payment from one of your bank accounts. This gives them too much information about your financial matters and may give a dishonest one a way to take advantage of you. You may want to use a prepaid card to make payments to creditors and this will give you more control over what gets paid.
Contacting A Lawyer
There are also legal remedies you can take against an unscrupulous debt collector. If you are being illegally harassed, you will want to ask for a free consultation with a lawyer, such as Howard S. Goodman Bankruptcy Attorney, who specializes in helping people with debt issues. He or she may be able to also help you explore some ways to alleviate unmanageable debt and have a fresh start.