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What does illegal debt collection look like?

Knowing that you have past-due bills to pay can create uncertainty as you try to figure out the best way to catch up. Receiving non-stop requests from lenders for repayment can only exacerbate the issue.

While it is not illegal for debt collectors to contact you asking for payment, they must comply with federal regulations.

Harassment and abuse

The best way to prevent debt collection agencies from contacting you in the first place is to promptly address payment issues. If you know that a decrease in your wages, job loss or an unexpected medical emergency has jeopardized your income, you can contact lenders to inform them of your situation. According to Equifax, you may have the option of negotiating a repayment plan different from your original contract.

If you cannot reach an amicable agreement, your situation may go to collections and that is when you may start receiving phone calls. Illegal debt collecting strategies include harassment and abuse. Harassment includes phone calls prior to 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. Also, phone calls at your place of work even after you have requested that agencies refrain from contacting you during work hours. Threats to your safety or the safety of your family qualify as abuse and are also illegal behavior.

Deception and impersonation

Sometimes, debt collections agencies may lie about how much money you owe or the requirements for paying it back. Deception like this can mislead you and violate your rights. Another illegal tactic is when agencies impersonate someone else, such as a government entity.

You can better protect your rights when you know what illegal behavior looks like. If you are the victim of such behavior, immediately report your concerns to the appropriate authorities. You deserve the right to negotiate a rational agreement so you can repay your debts as you are able.