How to Respond to Debt Collectors

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“When collections companies talk to you on the phone, they threaten you and use convincing and deliberately confusing language to get you to admit to a debt. Then its recorded and can be used against you. They are really scam artists and very good at what they do.” – NFB

When debt collectors call you or write you, they may try to trick you.

Sometimes if you pay any amount, even one dollar, you can make your debt much worse!

Sometimes you can make it worse just by saying the wrong thing!

Please learn to protect yourself.


If Debt Collectors Call You

Here’s a great article on what you should and shouldn’t do when debt collectors call.

In some situations, you may decide to ask them to stop calling you. Please read and learn more about it before making any important decisions.

If your income is from Social Security, please check out this Sample letter you can send to debt collectors about Social Security. This letter will certainly get them to stop calling you.


If Debt Collectors Take You To Court

I have read that it is important to always go to court and never ignore a court notice. However, even in court, your Social Security money is protected. See more below.


If Debt Collectors Threaten to Take Your House or Car

If a creditor says they are going to take your car or house: An auto loan may repossess your car. A mortgage may foreclose on your house. If you have signed any loans that used your car or house as collateral, those loans may repossess.

Other types of debt collectors (such as credit cards and medical bills) may threaten to take your house or car, but all of the articles I have read from lawyers agree it is very rare that they will do this. Most likely, they may go to court and put a lien on your property. After a lien is placed, if you ever sell the house or car, the creditor will get part of the money from the sale. Learn more.


If You are Considering Bankruptcy

Here’s a good guide from Connecticut Law Help.


Your Debt May Already Be Gone!

Many people do not realize that debt expires. This is called “Statute of limitations.”

If you have been disabled a long time and unable to work or pay your bills, it is possible that your debt has already expired. Check the statute of limitations in your state.

And learn more about how Statute of limitations work plus a few more things to learn about this topic.


Zombie Debt Collectors

After your debt is dead, debt collectors may still call you! They will pretend you still owe them money. They may also call your family or other people who know you.

Watch out! If you agree to pay any amount, even $1, your debt will come back from the dead! You will start owing money again.

Even if you do not pay any amount, if you even say that you owe them money, this can cause problem. They will record your phone calls and may use this to put you back in debt.

If you talk to Zombie debt collectors and say the wrong thing or pay them any amount you can make your debt worse. Read more here.


Never Give Out Your Bank Information

Never give a creditor your bank information or debit card number or give them permission to take money out of your bank account. Never give them permission to take money directly from your account.

If you have already done this, you can contact your bank and ask how to refuse the payments. You can also send a certified letter to the creditor stating that they are no longer authorized to access your account.

I would suggest not putting your Social Security money into a bank account if you have given creditors permission to take funds out of that account. Also, be careful if you owe money on a credit card that is connected to your bank.


If You Are On Social Security

There are special rules in place to protect your Social Security check. Please learn more about What Happens if You Do Not Pay Debt and How to Protect Your Social Security Check from Debt Collectors.


Please Double Check

I am not a financial expert, and financial regulations are complex and can change. Please double check and do more reading yourself before making any important decisions.

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