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What debt collectors legally cannot say to you

We have spoken before in this blog about the limits state and federal law put on the tactics debt collection agencies may use when trying to get money out of a person who allegedly owes a bill. For instance, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act forbids phone calls to alleged debtors before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

In extreme cases, debt collectors will prey on frightened people by making false claims about what will happen to them if they do not pay up. Today’s blog post is about knowing what debt collectors are not allowed to say to you, as shared by the Federal Trade Commission.

First of all, an unpaid debt cannot land you in jail, except possibly for child support. If a debt collector calls you and claims to be a police officer, or that the agency will have you arrested, know that he or she is lying.

Debt collectors also cannot give a false name for their company. They cannot threaten to seize, garnish, attach or sell your property or wages, unless they actually intend to do so, and the action they threaten is allowed by law. Exaggerating the amount the debtor owes is also illegal. So is giving false credit information about you to a credit reporting company or anyone else, no matter what they say.

And, of course, debt collectors may not harass you or use abusive language, whether talking to the debtor or any third parties. Third parties may be contacted, but generally only to obtain information about getting in touch with you, and usually only once.

For more information about protecting yourself against unscrupulous debt collectors, talk to an attorney. If an agency is doing it to you, there is a good chance it is doing it to others, so legal action may be needed to stop it.