Is a collection agency threatening to arrest you or charge you with a crime? Although it is illegal to do so, many debt collectors use false threats of criminal prosecution or arrest to scare consumers into paying debt. Under these threats many consumers end up paying debt that they do not owe, even when they know they don’t owe the debt. Fear is a powerful tool.
If a debt collector is threatening to arrest you or to charge you with a crime there are several steps you should take to protect yourself. First, realize that the collection agency is generally lying to you when they threaten to arrest you or charge you with a crime. There are a few circumstances in which you could be criminally responsible for fraud, identity theft, or other similar crimes, but in the vast majority of debt collection cases, those circumstances will not apply. Calm down and think it through. If you are in doubt call an attorney immediately to see if you are in any real danger of being charged with a crime or arrested. In most cases the collection agency is lying to you when they threaten to have you arrested or charged with a crime.
Do not pay a collection agency just because they are threatening to arrest you or charge you criminally. Similarly, and just as important, don’t promise to pay either. Find out first if the debt is actually yours, still within the statute of limitations, and has not yet been fully paid. Many collectors collect on debts that consumers do not legally have to pay. Find out first. When a collector is threatening to arrest you or charge you with a crime it is usually because they can’t get you to pay any other way. Call a lawyer before paying when these threats are being made.
Take Detailed Collection Notes
It is also important for you to detailed notes of every threat including the date and time of the call, the name of the company calling you, the name of the person calling you, and the details of everything they say. Don’t record the calls unless you are absolutely certain that it is legal to record calls in your state and the state in which the caller is located. Some states prohibit recording calls without the consent of both parties and your detailed notes are sufficient proof in most cases.
Tell the Collection Agency to Stop the Calls
You should also tell the collection agency to stop the calls and that you do not give consent to call you. If the debt collector is calling your cell phone, you should tell them it is a cell phone and to stop calling. Follow up by sending the collection agency a letter telling it to stop calling and that it is calling your cell phone without your permission. Keep a copy of the letter and get proof the collection agency received it by sending the letter by certified mail.
Get Legal Help
Another important step to take when a collection agency is threatening to arrest you or charge you with a crime is to call a consumer rights attorney. A good attorney can stop the calls, stop the collection agencies from threatening to arrest you or charge you with a crime, and can even obtain monetary damages on your behalf in many cases.
Don’t Fear Collection Threats
One of the most egregious consumer rights violations occurs when a collection agency threatens to arrest you. The threat of arrest or criminal prosecution for failing to pay a debt is a powerful tool in a debt collector’s arsenal. Don’t be afraid, don’t panic, and don’t make a payment until you call a consumer rights lawyer who can guide you through the threats and help you understand your legal rights in these situations.