Debt Collector? Here’s How to Legally Protect Yourself

If you were recently contacted by an overzealous debt collector who used questionable tactics in-an-attempt-to obtain money for a past-due bill, you’re not alone. 

According to a 2017 study conducted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), one-in-four consumers reported feeling intimidated, harassed or threatened by a debt collector during the 12 months of the survey. 

Fortunately, consumers have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) that protect them against unfair, abusive or deceptive debt collection practices. 

 

Who Enforces Debt Collection Laws?  

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the government’s consumer-protection agency that’s charged with enforcing debt collection laws, including those found in the FDCPA. 

According to the FTC, debt collectors cannot: 

  • Contact you repeatedly or at unreasonable hours, like in the middle of the night, unless you previously agree to the same. 
  • Contact you at your place of employment if you’ve told them not to do so verbally or in writing. 
  • Contact you only if they fail to comply with the rules set forth in the FDCPA, and moreover, fail to clearly disclose that they are debt collectors.

In addition, once a debt collector has contacted you, it must also send you a written validation notice containing specifics about your purported debt, including the dollar amount that you allegedly or legitimately owe.  

Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is also prohibited from hiding their identity, for example by impersonating an attorney or government official, or using tactics that are otherwise threatening, harassing or deceptive. 

 

Legal Ways to Protect Yourself 

Another common practice that’s used to target consumers is debt collection fraud. 

For example, when the person who is contacting you claims to work for a creditor, but they do not. 

Conversely, fraud occurs when a creditor claims that you owe them money when you do not. In fact, in 2017 alone, the FTC fielded nearly 3 million consumer complaints related to debt collection fraud. 

Even if you legitimately owe a debt, you still have rights afforded to you under federal and state consumer protection laws. 

 

Contact an Experienced Consumer Rights Attorney Today

If you or a loved one feel that you have been victimized by unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent debt collection practices we would like to hear about your experiences. 

To find out if you have a case, For more information, please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation and case review with one of our consumer rights attorneys. Please call Forrest LaMothe toll free today at 877-599-8890