As an Identity Theft Victim you are guilty till proved innocent. In some cases, the victims are able to resolve the effects of the crime in a couple of hours, but there are some cases in which things get so tangled and complicated. It takes way more than just making a few calls. When the debt collectors start calling regarding an account(s) you know you had nothing to do with, it is a little too late. It happens all the time. If “junk” debt buyers start calling, then it is way too late. This is what I would like to address in this post: the “junk” debt buyers, their unethical collection practices, your rights, and laws to protect you.
Dealing with the “junk” debt buyers is like dealing with deadbeats. You talk to them and they don’t hear you. Some of those “junk” debt buyers do not have any regard for laws and regulations, they have very deceptive and sneaky practices. I will use my own experience here. I was contacted by one of these companies ( I will omit the name); I did notify them of my situation, provided them with my ID Theft Documentation and requested from them some pertinent information. I also advised them to cease all communication with me and stop all collection activities. I thought there was nothing else to it. A few weeks later I received a letter from a different company claiming I owed them money. Everything on that letter looked similar to a previous one. I immediately became alarmed. What is going on here? I did everything all over again. Then I decided to check my credit reports again and what I have discovered was pretty disturbing. The first company illegally reported a fraudulent account with all three credit agency, which is against the law. They have been notified of the crime and they were not able to validate the debt. Then, they turned around and sold it to its affiliate, which is illegal for them to do as well. I was able to erase certain information from my credit file and block it from being reported again, but if these companies continue doing what they are doing over and over again, I may have a problem for many years.
Be aware of your rights. Below are just a few examples of what the debt collectors may or may not do:
What Should Debt Collectors Do?
Within 5 days from initially contacting the consumer, the debt collector must provide the consumer with a written letter (dunning letter). The letter must indicate the amount allegedly owed, the name of the creditor and a 30-day validation notice. The collector has 30-days to validate the debt or cease all collection efforts.
What Are The Debt Collectors Allowed To Do?
- Contact the consumer at work unless the consumer requested the debt collector not to.
- Contact the consumer at home between 8am to 9pm unless advised not to.
- Contact third parties only for verification of an address, phone number and employment.
- The debt collector must contact the consumer’s lawyer if the consumer retained one.
What Are The Prohibited Collection Practices?
- They may not call the consumer between 8am and 9pm.
- They may not call third parties more than ones, and are prohibited from discussing with the third parties the consumers’ debt.
- They may not make threats of violence, use profane language, repeatedly call the consumer with intent to harass or annoy.
- They may not make any false misleading statements. They may not misrepresent themselves.
From what I have been researching and learning, it appears that most debt collectors use deceptive collection practices. You are protected under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) any time you dealing with the debt collectors. Don’t let those scavengers make your life hell. Fight back.
Visit FTC website for more information on FDCPA.