Debt collectors are notorious for having bad manners and trying to take advantage of distressed consumers. But some debt collectors are so unscrupulous that they would even try to collect on debts that they know are unenforceable, not real or too old. When a debt collector tries to do this, it is referred to as trying to collect on a phantom debt.
Debt collectors with real debt claims have every right to try and collect on those debts, if they do so in accordance with the law. This means that the debt collectors must conduct themselves in accordance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and must only try to collect only on valid debts and debts that are not too old. But when debt collectors decide to try and trick debtors into making payments on extremely old or non-existent debts, they cross a line.
How Do These Phantom Debt Collectors Trick Unsuspecting Debtors?
The debt collector calls a consumer and acts as though they hold a valid and enforceable debt against the consumer. The debt collector will cite some of the consumer’s personal information, which the debt collector most likely purchased from some other debt collector or a creditor. Once the consumer believes that the collector does in fact hold a debt belonging to the consumer, the debt collector begins to hard sell the consumer into making payments on the allegedly outstanding debt. The debt collector will not hesitate to use high-pressure tactics, harassment or threats.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself From Phantom Debt Collectors?
When you are contacted by a debt collector seeking to collect on a debt that you supposedly owe, take steps to protect yourself. For instance, before agreeing to pay anything to the debt collector, you can request validation of the supposed debt that you owe. This means that the debt collector will have to validate the debt, which includes showing you in writing how much you allegedly owe and who the creditor is, before they are allowed to contact you again about paying the debt. Debt collectors should provide you with the requested validation soon after your request. If they don’t provide you with the validation notification in a timely manner, it might be an indication that you are dealing with a not-so-reputable debt collector.
Don’t let debt collectors scare you into doing anything. Place the burden on the supposed debt collector to provide validation information concerning the alleged debt, and have the debt collector put all communications in writing. It is much harder to dispute the contents of a writing in court than it is to dispute something that was said in a telephone conversation. You have certain rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and you should use those rights to protect yourself from overly-aggressive debt collectors seeking spurious phantom debts.
Contact A New York Debt Defense Lawyer
You should never have to pay on a debt that is not real or that does not belong to you. A New York debt collection defense lawyer can help you understand your rights when it comes to debt collectors and phantom debts. Contact the Bromberg Law Office, P.C. to schedule an appointment today.