If you find yourself caught up in the nightmare of debt collection with the possibility of a looming debt lawsuit, your life has already been pushed to the brink of anger and frustration.

It’s during these difficult times when debt collectors start assaulting your everyday business that other parts of yours can crumble. Relationships are shredded to their breaking point. Families can get torn apart. And, obviously, the financial woes and credit score hell that follows could remain a part of the rest of your life.

But what makes all those harsh realities worse is when a person or company posing as a real debt collector who actually is a phony descends on the already vulnerable.  

“You may even find yourself embroiled in a debt lawsuit that doesn’t exist,” explains Chantel Grant, a Senior Partner of the GM Law Firm who fights back against lawsuits.

Phony Debt Collectors Are Like Vultures

Have you ever received a phone call about a debt you don’t recognize? Perhaps you’ve experienced alleged collectors who harass, bully and flat out lie to you. 

In these cases, you have rights. Whether you do have an outstanding debt or really don’t owe the specific debt you are being called about — you have rights when it comes to debt collectors. 

Understand that not everyone who calls saying that you owe a debt is a real debt collector. Some are debt collection scam artists looking for ways to basically extort money from you. 

But, what’s the best way to tell?

Consider some of these basic tenets to ask yourself when you do get a collector calls:

  • Are they asking you to repay a debt you don’t believe you owe? 
  • Do they refuse to give you their contact info, like a mailing address or phone number
  • Do they use abusive tactics or harsh language to bully and scare you into paying? 
  • Do they even go so far as to say you could be arrested for breaking the law?

This is where it’s important to understand your specific financial situation. It’s also vital to understand the new laws that pertain to debt lawsuits and collection tactics that spell out what debt harassment means.

1 – Is The Debt Really Yours?

Did someone contact you about a debt that you don’t recognize? The best way to confirm the debt is yours is to get “debt validation information.” Debt collectors have to give you specific information when asked — either on the call or through the mail. That info should include:

  • the debt amount 
  • the name of the original creditor to whom you allegedly owe the debt
  • how to obtain the name of that original creditor

Other ways to approach the mysterious called claiming you owe large sums of money include:

 Who is actually calling. Get both the name of the alleged collector on the phone and the name of the collection company along with its contact info.

  1. Do your own sleathing. After all, it’s your future credit score on the line, so do your due diligence. Contact the original creditor to determine if the debt is, indeed, yours. Find out if the original creditor sold the debt or hired a third-party collection agency to recover the debt. 
  2. Fight the debt. Again, don’t always assume everything is truthful and should be taken at face value. If you don’t think you any part of the debt amount dispute it directly with the collector by mail or online. 

Consulting a consumer protection attorney group like the GM Law Firm can also help overcome obstacles and pitfalls in potential debt lawsuit cases.

Throughout the process, do not respond to threats in kind. Stay cool. If the scammers go so far as to threaten arrest or to call your emp[loyer to reveal your predicament, hang up the phone. Avoid future contact with the collector and contact the FTC to file a formal complaint.

2 – How to Spot an Abusive Debt Collector 

There’s a difference between a phoney debt collector and actual real one who just happens to be abusive. In both cases, there are federal laws designed to protect your rights.

A legal team (many of whom offer free consultations) can walk you through the many laws designed to protect consumers. 

Keep in mind the following facts:

  • Collectors can’t threaten bodily harm
  • They cannot harass you
  • They can’t use obscene or profane language
  • They absolutely cannot repeatedly call you, especially at late-night or early morning hours. And they cannot call you at work.

A legit debt collector cannot lie. In this case, you’re probably dealing with fake if he says any of the following:

  • that you owe a different amount than what you actually owe
  • he poses as a lawyer or a government representative
  • He says that legal action will be taken against you with overt threats of arrest

There are also laws against collectors treating debtors unfairly. They simply cannot take advantage of your dire financial situation to try to…

  • Fraudulently collect interest or other additional fees on top of the amount they say you owe
  • Tell you that you can deposit a post-dated check early
  • publicly share your debts with family, friends or employers

The debt lawsuit game is frightening wake-up call to anyone who has ever experienced getting in over their heads with credit card debt. Obviously the best way to avoid this situation is avoid getting deep into debt in the first place.

But, it’s not always that easy. Mounting medical debt during these pandemic times or credit card debt tied to necessary online purchases while stuck inside can get out of hand quickly. Mind your finances and, if you think you’ve dug a hole too deep to quickly crawl out of, then study your rights and know what’s real versus bogus. 

Partnering with a consumer protection law firm can also be beneficial and actually save you time and money in the long run. It can also be a faster track to getting your credit score back on the healthy side. 

Knowing how to spot a fake debt collector and arming yourself with federal protection laws can help ease the burden of debt and its frustrating side effects.