Collection agencies, in their pursuit of unpaid debts, often target senior citizens in Maryland. The state does have laws to protect consumers from abusive debt-collection practices.
However, despite these regulations, some collection agencies may resort to harassing seniors to recover debts.
Unrelenting phone calls
One of the most common harassment tactics collection agencies use is making unrelenting phone calls to senior citizens. These calls can be intrusive and frequent and often occur at inconvenient times. Collection agents may use aggressive language, threats and intimidation to pressure seniors into paying their debts, causing undue stress and anxiety.
Threats and intimidation
In Maryland, 16.9% of the population is 65 years old or older. These senior citizens are particularly vulnerable when collection agencies make threats related to legal action, wage garnishment or asset seizure. Seniors, many of whom rely on fixed incomes, may feel cornered and fear losing their livelihood or possessions. This fear can lead to hasty, ill-informed decisions.
Misleading and deceptive practices
Some collection agencies employ misleading and deceptive practices to extract payments from senior citizens. They might misrepresent the amount owed, the consequences of nonpayment or the agency’s authority to collect the debt. Seniors, who may need to familiarize themselves with their rights or the debt collection process, are at a greater risk of falling for these tactics.
Invasion of privacy
Collection agencies sometimes resort to invasive tactics to coerce seniors into paying their debts. They may contact the senior’s family members, friends or neighbors, disclosing the debt and creating embarrassment and discomfort. This invasion of privacy can strain relationships and further isolate senior citizens.
Lack of knowledge about rights such as being able to request written verification of the debt or dispute the debt if they believe it to be inaccurate makes seniors more susceptible to harassment by collection agencies. It is important for authorities to take strong measures to ensure that collection agencies adhere to the law.