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Watch out for creditors asking you to pay debts you don’t owe

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2024 | Collections Defense

You may owe a debt to creditors. Some of it you have paid off, but the majority you’re working hard to eradicate. Unfortunately, there are times when creditors might ask you to pay off more money than you recognize. That’s a sign they are resorting to deceptive practices.

These practices violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a federal law that protects consumers like you from the abusive behaviors of creditors.

Deceptive tactics leading to unnecessary payments

A common violation of the FDCPA occurs when debt collectors try to collect on debts you don’t owe. They might contact you for a debt tied to identity theft or wrongly identify you as the debtor. Even if you have already paid the debt—or if bankruptcy has discharged it—some creditors might still try to harass you into paying it off again.

Another form of harassment involves those who call at inconvenient times or places, refuse to stop communicating when you ask them to or use abusive language or tactics. They might even threaten jail time over the supposed debt. Even though the debt might be valid, how they try to collect it could cross legal boundaries.

All these practices are illegal under the FDCPA. Violations of this law are punishable offenses, and consumers who have been victimized can seek legal recourse, including damages and attorney fees.

Unlawful activities that call for legal action

If you find yourself in this situation, taking action is crucial. The first step involves confirming the validity of the debt. You should check your credit report and search for unfamiliar debts or charge-offs. This action can help you identify discrepancies, which might explain why collectors continue to pursue you and can alert you to potential identity theft.

If you have proof that you’ve paid a debt but still receive calls, present that proof of payment to stop the calls. However, if the harassment continues, consider reaching out to a legal professional familiar with these issues. They can guide you based on your specific circumstances and inform you about your legal protections under the FDCPA.

Remember, it’s crucial to know your rights, stand your ground and seek professional help when dealing with debt issues. Although these issues can cause stress, your journey toward a debt-free life shouldn’t involve harassment or abuse.