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debt collectors Archives - Fair Debt Collection Help

17 Jan

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How to handle your first interaction with a debt collector

January 17, 2014 | By | No Comments

If you’re late on your bill payments, there’s a chance that a debt collector may contact you. Before you receive that phone call, it’s a good idea to understand just how you should handle the situation.

First, know that in the first five days after contacting you (or before), a debt collector must send you a written “validation notice” explaining how much money you owe and the name of the creditor. If you don’t think you owe money, the notice will also include information on how you should proceed.

If you doubt whether you actually owe debt, you have the option to send a letter to the debt collector stating that you don’t owe the money they’re requesting or requesting verification. The letter must be sent within 30 days after you receive the validation notice. The debt collector must stop contacting you, until they send you the written verification of the debt.

When in the midst of dealing with a debt collector, it’s important to know what to say and what not to say. While debt collectors can be annoying, you should try to refrain from using vulgar language with them. It is also a good idea to refrain from releasing certain personal information to them such as:

-       Your social security number, bank account number or credit card information (unless you want to pay the debt).

-       Information about your employment situation or your assets

-       And never agree that you owe a debt if you think you do not, without having it verified.

While we would like to believe that everyone who contacts us as a debt collector is honest, scams do happen. It’s always a good idea to get written proof of the collector’s identity and verification of who they are before you release your personal information. Also, make sure to maintain thorough records of your interactions with the collector.

06 Jan

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How far is too far?

January 6, 2014 | By | No Comments

Now-a-days everyone seems to have a Facebook profile, so it’s no surprise that debt collectors do too. But, when collectors use social media to troll consumers, they may be going too far.

In the NBC article  “Debt Collectors Trolling Facebook — Are They Going Too Far?”, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) representative Joel Winston states that often times collectors use social media to locate people or to see if there are any assets that could be collectable. Winston said that the FTC has received complaints about collectors using social media to either impersonate the borrower’s friend or simply use it as another harassment tool.

The article gives the example of a woman in Florida who was a victim of Facebook harassment by a collector. Melanie Beacham, who fell behind on her car payment by a mere $362, told NBC that after the collector tried to reach her incessantly through text messages and phone calls, they turned to Facebook.

Beacham said that the collector used extreme measures, which included sending private messages to her friends and family asking them to have her call the company. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors are restricted from contacting third parties regarding your debt, which includes family members and friends (other than your spouse).

Beachman took her case to court and sued the collection agency that harassed her. While her case against the collection agency is still pending, her lawyer told NBC that he considers it a victory. The judge restricted the agency from contacting Beachman and her family through Facebook, which marked the first time in this country a ruling has been made to outright ban a collector from social media.

So, is social media completely off limits? Not exactly.

Debt collectors can and will continue to use the Internet to locate people who owe money. What is posted publically on social media is fair game and open for anyone to use. This is just another reason why it’s important for you to be careful about what you put out onto social media. Your profile may not be as private as you think, and your information could fall into the wrong hands.

Photo by:  reynermedia – via Flickr

Texting To Collect?

November 7, 2013 | By | No Comments

In recent news, a debt collector was fined for contacting indebted consumers via text message, which was found to be illegal. Legally — how can and can’t debt collectors contact you?

LuxLevinText

In late September the Federal Trade Commission settled its first debt collection case related to improper text messaging. While this wasn’t the first time an incident like this had occurred, its publicity left many concerned about the extent to which Debt Collectors will go to reach consumers. According to a national consumer complaint database managed by the FTC, incidents related to text messaging scams more than doubled between 2011 and 2012. Although text messaging is often used for communication, it can be an illegal method for Debt Collectors to contact consumers.

Under Federal Law, Debt Collectors may contact you through mail, phone, fax telegram or in person. Debt Collectors are also allowed to contact third parties to find out the location of a consumer they are pursuing, however it is illegal for them to indicate the consumer may owe debt. Here are a more few ways in which Debt Collectors cannot legally contact you:

  • Debt Collectors may not contact you at an inconvenient or unreasonable place, including at work if you’ve previously told them you cannot take calls at work
  • Debt Collectors may not contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • Debt Collectors may not contact you publically through social media such as Facebook or Twitter

At The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg, our lawyers specialize in protecting people from aggressive debt collection agencies. If you or someone you know is being illegally contacted by a debt collector give us a call at (877) 861-3746.  Our case review is always free, and if you have a case we can handle, we do not charge you any attorneys’ fees for our time.  Our fees are paid by the debt collector.

Photo By: Nate Steiner 

28 Oct

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Protecting Your Privacy When in Debt

October 28, 2013 | By | No Comments

keep out

Ever have the tense, stressful feeling of concern that your personal financial information might be shared with others by debt collectors?

Fortunately for consumers, The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects private information from being shared. The FDCPA says “discussions” about the debt can only be held with:

  • The Individual
  • The Creditor
  • An Attorney representing one of the parties
  • A Credit Bureau

It is illegal for debt collectors to try to shame you into paying your debt by contacting any other third parties and sharing your private financial information.

  • Debt collectors cannot exchange (with other agencies) information about individuals who allegedly owe a debt.
  • Cannot distribute a list of alleged debtors to its creditor subscribers.
  • Cannot compile a list of debtors for sale to others.
  • Cannot leave messages with third parties, asking them to have the debtor call the collector.  An exception to this rule allows debt collectors to contact third parties to obtain contact information for a debtor whom the collector does not know how to reach, so long as they do not disclose the reason for the call (collection of a debt).

If you’ve been dealing with debt collectors because of your credit card, student loan, medical or other consumer debt, you are not alone. Call The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg’s experienced fair debt collection attorneys toll-free at (877) 846-1209 to find out how we can help you. You can also complete our online form for a free FDCPA case review. The debt collector has to pay your legal fees so you’ll be charged nothing for your case.

Photo by: Zach Klein

AreDebtCollectorsFacebookFriendingYou

October 25, 2013 | By | No Comments

social mediaIn a world of constantly tweeting what you are doing, and updating your Facebook status about where you are, it is no surprise that debt collectors have begun to use social media to collect information on those whose debts they are trying to collect.

Debt collectors are using social channels like Facebook and Twitter to locate debtors, or to get information about their personal assets. They have been knows to set up fake profile to befriend their targets, impersonate real “friends,” or engage in harassment, such as posting messages advertising that the person owes a debt. All and any contact through social channels is considered to be harassment that violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

One The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg client found out that a debt collector had contacted several of her Facebook friends. He offered one of them $200 if she would convince our client to pay the alleged debt. The woman, an old friend from high school who had not spoken to our client in quite some time, contacted her to warn her. To make matters worse, the debt collector already knew where and how to contact our client. He was simply trying to put pressure on her by contacting her Facebook contacts.

In order to protect yourself, it is always best to keep your privacy settings high, and not allow those you do not know to view your profile, or to become your virtual friend. By keeping your personal information private, you are protecting yourself from debt collectors potentially viewing your profile.

If you’ve been dealing with debt collectors because of your credit card debt, or any other type of consumer debt, you are not alone. Call The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg’s experienced fair debt collection attorneys toll-free at (877) 846-1209 to find out how we can help you. You can also complete our online form for a free FDCPA case review. The debt collector has to pay your legal fees so you’ll be charged nothing for your case.

Photo By: Jason Howie

23 Oct

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Can Debt Collectors Call Your Employer?

October 23, 2013 | By | No Comments

Can a collection agency contact my boss? Can a collection agency send legal documents to my employer? Can a collection agency call me at work? These are all questions that may have crossed your mind when being contacted by debt collectors who try to intimidate and embarrass you into paying off your debt.
phones

A debt collector may contact anyone other than you, but only to find out where you live or your telephone number. This includes your boss, coworkers or any other contacts at your place of work. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not allow a debt collector to disclose the name of the company from which he or she is calling, unless the person on the other end of the line asks. However, under no circumstances can a debt collector ever disclose to a third party that you owe a debt Furthermore, if the debt collector already knows how to get in contact with you, they should not be communicating with any third parties at all. On exception to this rule would be if the debt collector is sending legal documents to your employer connected with a proper wage garnishment.

The FDCPA also provides that a collector cannot call you at work if it has reason to know that your employer does not allow you to receive personal phone calls. If you are first called at home, make sure to tell the collection agency that they cannot call you at your place of employment. It is always best to follow up with a written request as well. If the debt collector calls you at work, make it very clear that you cannot take their calls while you are working.
If you’ve been dealing with debt collectors because of your debt, you are not alone. Call The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg’s experienced fair debt collection attorneys toll-free at (877) 846-1209 to find out how we can help you. You can also complete our online form for a free FDCPA case review. The debt collector has to pay your legal fees so you’ll be charged nothing for your case.

Photo by: Justin Brockie

07 Aug

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How To Deal With Debt Collectors

August 7, 2013 | By | No Comments

Upset Man in Black and White

by: Crashmaster007


Dealing with a debt collector can be overwhelming, frustrating, scary and many other emotions associated with dealing with debt and debt collectors. You can choose to ignore a debt collector, but it can lead to other consequences and they probably will not go away so easily. Instead, here are ways to deal with debt collectors:

  • The best way to get a debt collector to stop contacting you is to send a cease and desist letter. Send a written letter requesting they stop contacting you, and send the letter through certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can be sure it was received. Make a copy of the signed letter for your records.
  • If a debt collector contacts you at work and you are not allowed to take calls at work, tell the debt collector your employer does not allow calls at work and that you request they no longer contact you at your place of employment.
  • Anytime a debt collector calls you, keep track and take notes. Include what was discussed, especially if they use offensive language, threaten you or use any other harassing language or behavior. Ask them where they are calling from and their first and last name to include on this call log as well. Make note of the date and time of the call, and the number that showed up on your caller ID. You could also take a photo of the caller ID.
  • When a debt collector leaves you a voice mail on your cell phone or a message on your home phone answering machine, save it. If possible, include a date and time stamp with that message. Include any voice mails to the call log mentioned above.
  • Ask your friends and family to let you know if a debt collector contacts them in regards to contacting you. Ask them to keep any voice mails, any letters and keep track of the dates and times that the debt collector is calling.
  • Save all letters and notices you receive from the debt collector, including the envelopes.
  • Save all e-mails and text messages you receive from the debt collectors as well as communications received through any other way they contact you. Print e-mails for extra safe keeping.

If you’re struggling with dealing with debt collectors, call The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg’s experienced fair debt collection attorneys toll-free at (877) 846-1209 to find out how we can help you. You can also complete our online form for a free FDCPA case review. The debt collector has to pay your legal fees so you’ll be charged nothing for your case, even if you lose do not receive a settlement or judgment.

09 Jul

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Reasons People Don’t Fight Debt Collectors

July 9, 2013 | By | No Comments

Dealing with debt and with harassing debt collectors can be stressful and scary. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they can fight back. Here are common reasons people do not fight back:

Everlast boxing gloves laying inside a boxing ring

photo by: KWDesigns

  • They’re scared.

    If a debt collector is threatening to take away possessions or violence or using abusive language, it’s no surprise that someone would become fearful. Besides the threats and offensive language, it’s also scary not to know when it will all end and what you can do about it.
  • They’re embarrassed.

    Feeling ashamed, embarrassed and guilty about the debt you’ve accrued is common but unnecessary. Many don’t want to bring more attention to their money troubles so they take illegal abuse from debt collectors.
  • They’re in denial.

    Denial is a common emotion associated with debt since it can be overwhelming. Yet, this denial can be harmful if you continue to ignore harassing phone calls from debt collectors.
  • They don’t realize they can fight it.

    An unfortunate reason why people choose not to fight illegal debt collections is simply, they don’t realize that they can. Understand your rights and that there are many things that a debt collector can’t do or say.
  • They don’t realize it costs nothing to fight the harassment.

    Even when people do know this harassment is wrong, they don’t realize that thanks to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, there is no cost of fighting these debt collectors if they have violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The debt collector has to pay your legal fees so you’ll be charged nothing for your case, even if you don’t recover anything.

Don’t let these reasons stop you from fighting abusive debt collectors. If you feel your rights have been violated, do something about it. Call The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg’s experienced fair debt collection attorneys toll-free at (877) 846-1209 to find out how we can help you. You can also complete our online form for a free FDCPA case review.

24 Jun

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Things Debt Collectors Can’t Do and Say

June 24, 2013 | By | No Comments

Several stop signs in a row

photo by: wootpeanuts

Dealing with debt collectors can be stressful and overwhelming. But there are many things that debt collectors aren’t allowed to say or do thanks to the Fair Debt Collection Act to prevent harassing behavior. Here’s a list of some of the things they aren’t allowed to say or do while contacting you:

  • Use offensive and obscene language
  • Threaten to take away your property without a court order
  • Threaten to take away your wages without a court order
  • Lie about why they’re calling you
  • Misrepresent themselves or pretend they are someone else, such as an attorney
  • Threaten violence
  • Contact you between the hours of 9 p.m. – 8 a.m.
  • Call you constantly for purposes of harassment
  • Call you at work if they know you are not allowed to take their calls while you are working
  • Contact you via postcard Make false claim that you’re going to be arrested
  • Say that you’ve committed a crime
  • Make a false claim that a lawsuit has been or will be filed when it has or will not
  • Send you papers that are made to mimic court papers when they are not
  • Threaten to harm your property
  • Use a name other than the true name of the company
  • Fail to identify themselves while talking to you
  • Threaten to damage your reputation
  • Inform your employer about your debt
  • Contact your family and friends and tell them about your debt (other than a spouse if you’re married or parent if you’re under 18)


If you feel like any of these above actions have happened to you and a debt collector has been violating your rights, call The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg’s experienced fair debt collection attorneys toll-free at (877) 846-1209 to find out how we can help you or complete our online form for a free FDCPA case review.