Debt is a problem that is afflicting many North Carolina residents. This can emanate from medical expenses, credit card bills, losing a job and divorce. For some, it is a combination of challenges that led to falling behind on payments. Those who are dealing with this worrisome issue need to be aware of the various strategies that debt collectors might use to extract payment. Creditors can legally take certain steps. Others cross the line into creditor harassment. Knowing when it has happened and what to do about it is key.
Debt is a common problem for people of all ages
Recent information indicates that debt is a continuing source of worry for people regardless of age and financial station. In the third quarter of 2021, people saw their credit card debt spike to $800 billion. This was an increase of $17 billion. Those categorized in “Generation Z” faced a substantial level of economic uncertainty with 37% worried about finances. As debt continues to grow, it is imperative to be cognizant of new rules that were put in place by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) granting different avenues of contact from debt collector to debtor.
Debt collectors can use social media, email and text messages
Instead of being limited to phone calls and letters through the mail, they can use social media, emails and text messages. There are limits to this type of contact. On social media, it must be a private message. The debt collector must also inform the debtor why they are initiating contact. The “reasonable time” tenet that is in place for phone calls is also in place for these other forms of contact. Debt collectors cannot post information about a person’s debt where it can be seen by others. They must also validate that the person owes debt. There must be an opt out so debtors can put an end to this type of communication.
Professional assistance can be vital in stopping creditor harassment
While these changes were not done with harassment in mind, it can escalate to that point. Just as debt collectors sometimes used coercion, threats and outright falsehoods to try and get people to pay when they contacted by telephone or through the mail, they can also violate the law when texting, contacting via social media and emailing. If this is suspected, people should be fully versed in their available options based on consumers’ rights. Having legal guidance can be essential to taking appropriate action and holding unscrupulous debt collectors accountable.