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Recognizing creditor harassment and scams for debtors

For Floridians who have overwhelming credit card debt and are being contacted by creditors over delinquent payments, the worries can be a constant source of fear. While there are protections for debtors that are specifically designed to shield them from creditor harassment, that does not means that the calls over missed payments will stop. In some instances, the debt collectors are not representatives of the creditors, but are simply scammers trying to get money from distressed people. In others, the creditors are engaging in various behaviors that are clear violations of the law or stretch the rules and go over the line.

For any situation involving debt, legal help can avoid and protect debtors from various behaviors from legitimate creditors and scammers alike. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), people are frequently contacted by people who claim to be debt collectors, but are not. They will use terminology that mimics that of legitimate debt collectors and use a debtor's financial situation as a method to garner information and money. They might have personal information about a debt, names, numbers and more.

Warning signs of a fraudulent debt collector include: seeking to be paid for debts or loans that the debtor was not aware of; requesting personal information such as a Social Security number of bank account; not responding to a request for a mailing address or telephone number; and using high-pressure tactics to try and receive payment immediately, making threats, or saying that he or she is from a federal agency and an arrest is possible.

This is just one issue that arises for people who are facing hefty debt they cannot pay. For many, filing for bankruptcy is not a viable alternative. There are other options available that can help with the debt and provide protection from unscrupulous companies and agencies. Discussing a case with a legal professional who is well-versed in legal contact language and in helping people who are facing financial challenges is imperative to be protected and to move forward with strategies to clear the debt.

Source: consumer.ftc.gov, "Fake Debt Collectors," accessed on Aug. 4, 2017

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