“What debt collector threats should people be afraid of?” was the question my friend bankruptcy attorney Cathy Moran asked.
To which I replied, “Afraid of? Pretty much none of them!”
Because they’re mostly all empty threats.
- You’re not going to jail,
Trust me, I’m actually a former debt collection attorney! None of those threats, even if they happened, changes anything in your tussle with a debt collector.
The three threats with teeth
There are only three things you really need to heed.
ONE: There’s a court judgment against you or your spouse and they just proved to you that they found out where you work and are threatening to garnish your wages.
TWO: There’s a lien against your property by an HOA or a mortgage lender and they are threatening to foreclose on your home.
THREE: You’re late on your car payment and they’re threatening to repossess it.
That’s it. (And even those three things aren’t too big of a problem, because the lender wants to make a deal without doing ANY of those things). Watch for our next post on what to do if threatened with any of these genuine threats.
Turning the tables
The rest of it, well, that’s just opportunity.
An opportunity to either block your phone from illegal scammers OR an opportunity to teach these purveyors of empty threats a quality lesson by getting some free legal advice about filing a lawsuit that could eliminate your debt and entitle you to compensation!
The debt collector who may be worthy of a lawsuit sends you real letters or dials you from a number that’s connected to a real company, or at least calls and says they’re from a real company. (Just because they’re from a “real company” doesn’t mean they won’t tell you lies, call your work, tell your family about your debt, or otherwise do illegal things.)
The criminal scammer never tells you who she is or who she represents. She just gets really crazy (like YOU’RE the crazy one for not paying her RIGHT NOW) and then wants your debit card ASAP. (Notice that the criminals don’t want credit cards because you could reverse the charges). Because they’re a scammer, rather than just a sleaze, you’ll never find them to sue them for breaking the laws on fair debt collection.
So, the simple rule is this – If you can find out who the “real company” is that’s harassing you, reach out and get free help.
If they’re just scary vague threats with no address, just block those calls and let them drift away from your mind forever.
Wage garnishment survival guide
A close look at the weapons of a debt collector
When debt collectors call after bankruptcy
Collecting from the debt collectors