Understanding the limits to which a debt collector can legally act is an important step in figuring out how to tackle a situation of debt.
This includes knowing your protections under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau discusses the protections offered by the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) to people suffering from debt.
First, the FDCPA prevents both misrepresentation as well as harassment. As far as misrepresentation goes, this can include debt collectors pretending to have power over you when they do not. For example, they might have a colleague act as though they are a lawyer or a police officer and threaten you with eviction, arrest, or more.
They may also misrepresent the amount you owe. They intend to spur you into quicker action through this, making your debts feel even more pressing than they actually are.
Potential harassment tactics
As far as harassment goes, they may try to tackle this in various ways. Some methods do not involve a lot of direct interaction, such as staking out your house. With this, a member of the debt collection agency will simply park outside of your property to keep an eye on it, as a way of making you feel watched.
Another popular method involves collection calling, where they will call your house at all hours of the day and night. They may leave threatening messages or they might just call and hang up.
Regardless of the threats you face, know that the FDCPA disallows any of them, and you can take legal action.