Dealing with debt collectors can be one of the scariest issues you might ever have to deal with. Often shady and using tactics of intimidation and scaremongering in order to rustle up money owed, they can often leave you feeling helpless. Nonetheless, debt collectors don’t operate outside of the law, meaning that you have a lot of rights when it comes to dealing with them. This article will outline ten ways to deal with debt collectors, giving you control over your interactions with them.
Don’t Run Away From or Ignore Them
Problems will not go away if you simply ignore them or try to run away from them. By hiding from your debt collectors one day, they will simply turn up the next day, potentially causing you serious legal problems in the long run. Sadly, you will have to find a way to negotiate with them. If they are legitimate debt collectors, then you should be able to reason with them and figure out a way to deal with problems in your own way.
Learn How They Got your Information
When debt collectors arrive, they might not actually explain where the money is coming from and how you can deal with it. This is why it makes sense to ask them about where they actually got your information, so you can see who you actually owe it to. If you genuinely don’t owe any money, then you might be able to explain how they have the wrong number. If you do owe money, then you can be able to bypass the collectors entirely and contact the company you owe directly.
Learn to Spot a Scam
The worst event that can happen is paying off a debt collector who isn’t actually who they say they are. That’s why you should be careful that they are genuine collectors. Some standard aspects of a scam that a genuine collector wouldn’t ask you include:
- Refusing you to tell you information
- Forces you to pay on the spot or via money transfer
- Threatens you with jail time
- Pretends to be a government official
- The debt simply isn’t yours
- Asks for bank information or social security information
- Talks to you at an unusual time
One way to beat this is to simply say that you will send a written request to the debt collectors, and upon realizing that they have no evidence to back up their claims, they should back off. Be firm in your responses and don’t give anything away, as scammers often prey upon the vulnerable for a reason. Additionally, if they decide to call instead, ask for a callback number; if they cannot provide one from a genuine company, then this is an obvious scam.
Don’t Let Them Into the House
When a debt collector comes to your house, there is no legal obligation to actually let them inside. Make sure to keep the conversation outside, and be aware that you do not have to deal with them at unreasonable times, such as before 9am or after 8pm. If you are letting someone into the house, they may resort to taking your possessions — which is illegal — or destroying your stuff, so it’s better to be firm and make sure you keep the conversation outside. This applies to virtual communication as well, meaning:
Don’t Share Personal Details over the Phone
Not only is talking over the phone genuinely an insecure way to communicate, but it can lead you into trouble if it turns out you are talking to someone that is actually a scammer. If they ask for personal details over the phone, such as bank details or social security number, then be sure to simply ask them to turn up in person or:
Ask for Money Owed in Writing
It is a legal obligation for debt collectors to give you a receipt of the money owed in writing. This way, you can have actual proof that there is a debt that needs collecting.
Seek Legal Help
Sometimes the methods of debt collectors can be too much to deal with on your own. That’s when it is necessary to ask for help from a debt law firm that will be able to give you the necessary legal advice and help to deal with the issue. With legal help on your side, the debt collectors will be forced to tone down on their heavy-handed measures.
Ask for Legitimate Information about the Debt Company
Debt collectors act on behalf of a creditor. You should be able to ask for information about the debt company and who you actually owe money to. This isn’t only a good scheme to fight off scammers, but also a strong way of locating who you owe a debt to, allowing you to actually:
Verify your Original Debt
Make sure you reach out to the company that you actually owe money to order to actually verify your debt and that the debt collectors you contacted are acting on behalf of them. Ask for a receipt of the debt in writing so that you have a genuine way to negotiate a payment schedule. This way, you can actually:
Pay Your Own Way
There can be a reasonable way to pay back your debt. Make sure to ask if you can pay it back in a way that works for you. It may not be necessary to pay the debt all in one go, but to negotiate a payment schedule that you can slowly pay off month by month. By getting on top of the money owed and figuring out a reasonable way to pay it back, then you can work on a way to cut down on your losses and get on top of your issues. You can also negotiate the method of repayment, whether it is used via bank transfers, direct debit collection, or even through cash. Just make sure to always ask for receipts of these payments, so you have proof of repayment and don’t end up having to pay more money than you actually owe.