Debt collectors may implement unusual tactics in an attempt to get you to repay your debts, but can they actually cross a legal line and dip into the potentially illegal territory?
The answer to that question is a resounding yes. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) serves to tell you exactly when a debt collector crosses the line and what you can do about it to protect yourself, your assets and your well-being.
Abuse through the phone lines
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau discusses the various ways in which abuse by debt collectors may manifest. First, many debt collectors will attempt to “annoy” you into paying back your debts. The most common way of doing this is through abusive phone calling. In this tactic, a collector will call frequently throughout the day and night, ignoring the polite calling hours which typically fall during an average workday (i.e. about 9 in the morning to 5 in the evening). They also often refuse to identify themselves and may leave cryptic or alarming messages on the phone.
Physical and verbal threats
Still, you can solve this problem simply by refusing to answer the phone and erasing messages immediately. To combat this, collectors may amp things up by being a physical menacing presence. They may go so far as to park outside your property, where they remain for the duration of the day. This is an intimidation tactic meant to make you feel watched.
Finally, debt collectors may use direct threats of physical violence or eviction, or threaten the well-being of themselves or others living in your home. They may try to intimidate you with vulgar or foul language, too. If you face such threats, consider contacting legal help immediately.