Debt Collectors’ Bark May Be Louder Than the Bite

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New Jersey is one of the most expensive states to call home in America. This makes falling into debt an especially terrifying experience. What makes it worse is all the debt collectors calling to reclaim their money by any means available to them. This can make people feel afraid and may cause them to become depressed.

CNBC estimates that debt collectors called one in three consumers in the year preceding July 2016. These collectors harassed people at any hour of the day or night, with no consideration for their rest or peace of mind. They made threats, even including criminal prosecution. Some went as far as to physically threaten consumers or their beloved pets. Not surprisingly, a quarter of the grievances filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau involves debt collection.

What is worse is that debt collectors may have the wrong person or even the wrong dollar figure. Because of this, it is important for consumers to verify claims made by these collectors. While it is possible these figures are legitimate or that the collection agent made an honest mistake, all too often these may also be scams.

Forbes admits that spotting a debt collection scam requires attention to detail. It may also require some experience or knowledge about how companies work. Forbes insists that a utility company would not make threats of violence and that they do not make demands for prepaid card payments. It may be best to hang up the phone, call the business the collector claims the debt is for and request some confirmation.

Forbes also advises that a legitimate debt collector does more barking than biting. That said, consumers have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This prohibits debt collectors from using methods that involve abuse and deception to reclaim the amount owed.