Advice for Consumers Contacted By Debt Collectors

Advice for Consumers Contacted By Debt Collectors
Image: Pixabay
March 27, 2017

The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) has issued a series of consumer tips to guard against fraudulent debt collectors, help consumers understand their rights under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and protect them if they are sued.

Last year alone, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) brought four lawsuits against fraudulent debt collectors who collected millions of dollars in "phantom" debt that did not exist or was not owed to these collectors. Consumers were intimidated into paying over $15 million dollars by illegal threats of immediate arrest and disclosure of debts to employers.

"With the rapid increase in fraudulent debt collection, it is essential that consumers know how to protect themselves," said Laura Udis, Senior Financial Services Advocate at the Consumer Federation of America.

Consumers have "self-help" rights under the federal collection laws that they may exercise without hiring an attorney. These include advising the collector to cease communication, disputing the debt, requiring proof of the amount owed, and the name of the original creditor to whom the debt was due.

While consumers have all of these rights, collectors are only required to advise them of certain ones.

"CFA's easy-to-understand guide outlines consumer's rights and how to exercise them," said Udis. "Knowing your rights is the best way to insure fair collection processes and to keep from paying debts you don't owe."

Get Connected with Consumer Connections

Stay up-to-date about issues that really matter! Get the Consumer Connections newsletter!

We're committed to providing you with information you need to make you a better, more informed consumer. Whether it's a vehicle recall, a product recall, or a new scam, we feature it in Consumer Connections.

So why not give it a try? Go on. All of your friends are doing it. It's completely free and comes just once a week.

So you're finally ready to trade in your current car for a new one! Congratulations on such an important step. If you've never bought a new car before, you may know nothing about the process. To begin with, there are a number of things you should do to get ready to buy the car before you ever step on the dealership lot.

Have you ever noticed that your bank account somehow had 'extra' money in it even though you knew for a fact it wasn't yours? If so, you are not alone. It happens more often than you would think. All it takes is for a bank teller to type in one wrong number at the time a deposit is being made.

Great rates do exist. But even if you are offered a low interest car loan, you can probably save more money by accepting a slightly higher rate and using rebates or other incentives or by getting your own financing and taking the rebates and incentives.

Many people feel like they just can't get ahead when it comes to money. What you may not know is that saving during tax season can start you on the path to financial security. We urge you to take advantage of tax season to prepare for unexpected emergencies or plan for the future. Here are some tips to help get started.