Collection companies for credit cards and pay-day loans may not put debtors in jail for simply failing behind on their payments. Yet ruthless debt collectors sometimes threaten debtors during phone calls to scare them into paying off the debt early.

The best move for consumers when being harassed like this is to seek the advice of a consumer debt lawyer. They will know how best to stop creditor harassment. The fact is that filing bankruptcy prevents creditors and bill collectors from harassing calls. But even without bankruptcy, a debt collector cannot physically threaten or humiliate debtors.

Debt Collectors Say They Will Have You Arrested

All too often debtors receive phone calls from debt collectors threatening criminal prosecution if they don’t pay up. One such person was told that the Sacramento Sheriff’s department had issued a warrant and would be by the next day to arrest her if she didn’t pay immediately. Of course, she knows now that she was never in danger. But at the time, it was very scary and the debt collector had such confidence in his voice that it seemed believable.

Debt Collection Threats Are Against the Law

More “legitimate” debt collectors know better than to make threats of criminal prosecution to coerce consumers in paying a debt. Unfortunately, even though they know it’s illegal, they still do it. It is a violation of numerous federal and state consumer collection laws, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the California version (the Rosenthal Act), to threaten debtors with criminal prosecution for failing to pay a debt. These laws provide consumers with rights and remedies, including statutory damages and attorneys fees provisions.

Debt Collection Scams Often Seem Real

If it seems like a scam, there is a good chance that it is. A frightened consumer recently thought she was going to be arrested because she got an email saying there was a warrant out for her arrest in Placer County. If she didn’t comply with the requests in the email, it said she would be arrested by the end of the week. There were misspellings and very little contact information.

On one hand, the email seemed legitimate because it had some personal information about the consumer. On the other hand, she had no recollection of any such debt and the email had many mistakes. That email was a scam. That particular consumer was smart to call an attorney and make sure that the threat wasn’t real. While the FDCPA laws likely don’t apply in this situation, these types of emails or calls can be an indicator that your private information has been compromised. This is a good time to review your credit report and perhaps place a fraud alert. However, each and every case is different and it requires the eye of an experienced consumer advocate to know the extent of the threat.

Creditor Problems of Have Solutions

Mountains of debt and abusive debt collectors are very common problems in the Sacramento Valley. These problems can seem insurmountable and backbreaking. But solutions exist if you know where to look or who to ask. Be proactive and get the facts and you will find a way to succeed.