A fairly common, yet illegal tactic of overly aggressive debt collectors is to threaten consumers with arrest if they do not pay their debt. Some shady debt collectors have even go as far as to illegally impersonate a police officer and claim to have a warrant for the consumer’s arrest. This tactic is illegal on a couple of different levels. For one thing, it is a felony to impersonate a police officer, but on the consumer level, it is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) for a debt collector to lie or threaten consumer with arrest. You cannot go to jail for not paying your debts. End of Story! Any debt collector that tells you differently has violated FDCPA.
A debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation in connection with the collection of any debt. The following conduct is a violation of this section of the FDCPA:
(1) The false representation or implication that the debt collector is affiliated with the United States or State government. including the use of any badge, uniform, or facsimile thereof.
(2) The false representation of the amount or status of any debt.
(3) The false representation or implication that any individual is an attorney or that any communication is from an attorney.
(4) The representation or implication that nonpayment of any debt will result in the arrest or imprisonment of any person. Or the seizure, garnishment, attachment, or sale of any property or wages of any person unless such action is lawful and the debt collector or creditor intends to take such action.
(5) The threat to take any action that cannot legally be taken or that is not intended to be taken.
(6) The false implication that the consumer committed any crime or other conduct in order to disgrace the consumer.
(7) Communicating or threatening to communicate to any person credit information which is known or which should be known to be false, including the failure to communicate that a disputed debt is disputed.
(8) The use or distribution of any written communication which simulates or is falsely represented to be a document authorized, issued, or approved by any court, official, or agency of the United States or any State, or which creates a false impression as to its source, authorization, or approval.
(9) The use of any false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt or to obtain information concerning a consumer.
(10) The false representation or implication that documents are legal process.
(11) The false representation or implication that a debt collector operates or is employed by a consumer reporting agency.
If you are being harassed by debt collectors, you may be entitled to compensation. Document all of the debt collectors’ communications. And if the debt collector does anything untrue, harassing, or abusive, please contact California Consumer Protection Attorney, Todd M. Friedman at 877-449-8898 for a free consultation.