Common Lies That Debt Collectors Tell You
Debt collectors may say anything to get you to pay a debt. They may lie, threaten, and say they have the ability to do things they don’t have the legal authority to do. Here are some of the most common lies that debt collectors will tell consumers, to get them to pay debts.
They will sue you – This one can be a lie…but isn’t always. Some creditors can and do sue for debts. But many debt collectors aren’t licensed to sue in the state. Or, they don’t have the paperwork needed to sue. An attorney can tell you if a given debt collector has a history of filing lawsuits against consumers, or if the debt collector is likely just bluffing
You are going to be arrested – This is a blatant lie. Even if you can be sued, being sued is a civil action, not criminal. Absolutely no criminal penalties can be assessed against you for failing to pay a debt. This kind of threat often is couched in some kind of immediacy—for example, “law enforcement is coming,” or “the police are being notified.”
We will call your boss/spouse/friends – Debt collectors are absolutely prohibited from sharing information about your debt with anyone. If they threaten to do so, they’re either lying, or they risk being sued for disclosing your private financial information.
Threatening to garnish wages, or take property – Debt collectors can do this—but only after they have obtained a judgment against you. Many collectors will make these threats, making it sound like they can always take your property, or garnish wages. It is illegal for them to threaten to do this, when they know they legally cannot do so unless and until they obtain a judgment against you.
Telling you that you have no defense – Debt collectors will often say you owe the money, as if you can never put up any defense. They’ll say a court “will” find against you. Or that you “absolutely” owe the money and that they “will win” if they sue.
Saying they don’t have to stop contacting you – In fact, if you ask that a debt collector stop contacting you, they must stop. There is no requirement that your request be put in writing, although that’s good practice. However, many collectors will lie and say that they can continue to contact you, even after you request that they stop. This is false.
Lying about how long an item will be on your credit – Collectors will often say that an item will “never” be removed from your credit, or that you can’t ever remove an item from your credit. This is false. As a general rule, items come off your credit after seven (7) years.