Most Threats By Debt Collectors Are Empty
Debt collectors make their living off of making threats. Threats provide the fear needed to force you to pay debts, and often, to pay debts you may not even owe. For the most part, debt collectors don’t really care how truthful their threats are. Their only goal is to scare you into paying.
What Threats are False?
Generally, threats to jail you, send the police to your house, or take your property are all false. There is no prison in America for owing money, and the police don’t care who you owe money to. In fact, these are threats that are often made by scammers.
Threats to contact friends, family or employers are also usually false, as debt collectors know that doing any of that is illegal. If any debt collector ever does contact employers or family, you may be able to sue them, and make them pay you.
What Threats Are Possibly Real?
However, there are some threats that debt collectors make, that you should pay attention to, or at least, that you shouldn’t just dismiss offhand.
- Telling you that there’s a judgment against you – Of course, this could be a blatant lie. But it isn’t always. Too many times, debt collectors get “sewer service” on people who owe money.
This is where a debt collector pretends to serve you or notify you of a lawsuit, but in fact the debt collector has not notified you at all. As a result, your case has gone on without you, and a judgment has been entered without you ever even having the chance to defend the case.
Whenever a debt collector says a judgment has been entered against you, you should ask for proof of the judgment. If you know how, you may want to contact the clerk of the court in your local courthouse, to see if there is a judgment against you.
- Threats of foreclosures or repossessions – Sometimes debt collectors will say that they can “take your house” when you owe a debt. That’s usually a false claim.
But when a company threatens to lien property or foreclose, it may mean that there is a valid mortgage that is due and owing on your home. Because foreclosures and repossessions can happen very quickly, you want to make sure that this is an empty threat.
Many Threats are Illegal
It is illegal for debt collectors to threaten things that have no legal ability to do. So, a debt collector who says they will foreclose on your home, when in fact they have no mortgage, is breaking the law. A debt collector who says that they will garnish your wages is breaking the law if there is no judgment, which must happen before a wage garnishment is entered.