As a victim of debt, you already spend a majority of your time feeling ashamed of your situation. Fear is the last thing you need to deal with on top of that. Unfortunately, this is exactly what harassing debt collectors instill in victims.
But how can you tell if you are facing harassment? Some behaviors may toe the line, but the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) has clear guidelines regarding what is not allowed.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau takes a look at debt collector harassment. Many behaviors and actions fall under this umbrella term. For example, the threats can involve:
- Physical threats of eviction
- Threats toward you or other individuals in the home about homelessness
- Threats of future poverty
Harassing behavior also includes vulgar, profane or crude language. A debt collector may turn to these as an intimidation factor, for example cussing out a person in debt to scare them.
Debt collectors may also use other intimidation tactics, such as calling the house repeatedly or at odd hours. When doing so, they often refuse to identify themselves or leave messages. They may also leave unidentified cryptic or threatening messages.
Another, less common tactic involves showing the person in debt that the debt collection agency “has an eye on them”. They may do this by sending a debt collector to sit in their vehicle outside of your property for some time. Though this individual does not do anything, the act alone shows aggression and intimidating intent.
If you experience any of these, you have the right to seek protection under the FDCPA. Doing so can help you stop the abuse so you can focus on your debt recovery plan.