illegal debt collector tricks

Debt Collector Dirty Tactics: Part II

Part I of this post describes the ways you can fight unfair debt collection (if you haven’t read that part yet, click here to see details) based on our Facebook Live video with attorney Joe LoTiempo.

In this part of “dirty debt collector tactics,” we are going to review some of the things that debt collectors can do based on another Facebook Live we recently did with attorney David Lampley.

These Things Are Perfectly Legal

Debt collectors do have some legal rights including the following:

  • They can call, email, or send you letters via mail

  • They can disclose that they are attempting to collect a debt (this can be in writing or via phone)

  • They can tell anyone that answers the phone that they are trying to collect a debt -- they cannot disclose exact details of the debt to a family member, but they can say who they are, what company they work for, and what their intent is.

The above actions are legal, but there are many fine lines when it comes to debt collecting.

These Things Must be Clear

Some debt collectors will push the legal limits and many will cross them, but if you are unaware of those details you cannot fight back. Here are some of the things collectors cannot do when trying to collect a debt:

  • Collectors cannot refuse to detail the debt they’re trying to collect. If you ask about the debt (when, where, and how it was created) and they refuse to tell you those details, they are acting illegally.

  • They cannot call you at all hours of the day and night --- unless you have agreed to these terms. Why would anyone agree to this? Unfortunately, many loan applications have clauses that people do not read. Sometimes signing a contract includes agreeing to be contacted by text, at night, on the weekends, at work, etc. You can revoke this permission, however!

  • They cannot call before 8 am or after 9 pm your time -- it does not matter where the call center is located! Debt collectors must adhere to your local time. If this law is breached, make a note! Write down the time, date, and name of the company that called you immediately.

  • Collectors cannot call you while you are at work.

  • They cannot call you names, they cannot threaten to do things that they cannot do, they cannot threaten you at all. They cannot threaten to arrest you if you do not pay. If a debt collector calls you names, write it down. Write down the name of the person, the name of the company, the time and the day.

  • Debt collectors cannot call you if you have legal representation. If you have hired an attorney, the collector you are dealing with has to work with the attorney: for many people, this is a huge relief!

Popular Scare Tactics (These Are Illegal)

Debt collectors will do almost anything to try and get you to pay back the debt. However, they cannot legally do the following:

  • Threaten you

  • Call you names

  • Say that you will be arrested

  • Threaten to take your social security money -- this money is 100% protected and they cannot take it!

  • Threaten to take your pension money


Covid-19 note: we are seeing a new low from debt collectors right now. Many collectors are threatening to take stimulus checks or stimulus check money. Guess what? They cannot do this.

Important Tip: if a debt collector has acted illegally or questionably again you, write it down. Write down their name, date, time, and company details.

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