Tips on How to Deal with Aggressive Debt Collectors
In these tough financial times, more and more people are defaulting on their loans and finding they are unable to pay their bills and credit cards. Because of this, debt collectors have become much more aggressive than they have been in the past. Debt collectors often use this tactic because they know that most debtors are unaware of their rights.
The first step to dealing with an aggressive debt collector is to answer their call. By continuing to ignore their phone calls you are only encouraging them to continue to call. Attempt to speak to the collector and explain yourself calmly and politely. If you are in the process of filing for bankruptcy, inform the debt collection agency and provide them with your attorney's information and a case number if possible. This will often stop any further calls for a time.
The second step to dealing with an aggressive debt collector is to get as much information as possible. It is extremely important to know whether the person that is aggressively calling is actually a professional debt collector and how they relate to the collection agency. If they claim to have information that sounds unfamiliar (i.e. signed contracts, etc.) politely ask for a copy of all of their documentation regarding your debt.
The third thing to remember when dealing with aggressive debt collectors is NEVER give your personal information over the phone. Sometimes identity thieves make calls under the guise of a debt collector and they will attempt to get social security numbers, birth dates, account numbers, and all kinds of personal details that will enable them to infiltrate your personal accounts. Additionally, you should never pay anything over the phone unless you are 100% sure that you are paying the right person.
The fourth thing to do when dealing with aggressive debt collectors is to take notes during your call. Often it is helpful to keep a notebook dedicated just to collection calls. Take note of the date of your conversations, the name of the person you spoke to and what was discussed. This is also handy if the collector ever gets nasty so that you can report it accurately with as much information as possible.
The fifth step to dealing with aggressive debt collectors is to take control of the conversation. How the debt collector will treat you will depend on how you speak to them and how you respond to their questions. Speak with confidence and respect. If the conversation turns nasty do not continue to argue over the phone but calmly inform the collector that you will not allow yourself to be harassed and hang up the phone.
The most important thing one needs to know is that repeated harassing calls from debt collectors are illegal. Debt collectors have certain things that they are not allowed to do. The Fair Debt Practices Act lays out these parameters. If you are being harassed by an aggressive debt collector you should inform them that they are violating this Act, take down their information to be used later if you wish to further protect your rights.
Call Carmen G. Soto, a Fort Lauderdale bankruptcy attorney practicing for over 10 years in South Florida.
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