The debt collection ideologies
It is no secret that collection agencies will use virtually any tactic to find consumers who owe money to creditors. Many consumers wonder just how these agencies find people. The truth is collection agencies have many avenues they can use to find debtors, and are more than willing to use those avenues.
In the not so distant past, collection agents used tactics that were often aggressive, intimidating, and downright frightening to many of those with whom they were tracking down. Today, however, there are various laws in place that restrict the types of behaviors collection agencies can do.
A newer tactic
One of the most effective ways that collection agencies find people these days is through skip tracing. Skip tracing today is not the same as it was years ago. Today, agencies can simply put your name, address or phone number into a search engine and within moments have a good idea of where you are. They can also cross-reference information they get with your relatives, neighbors, employer, and even hobbies to get a good idea of how to find you. Skip tracing is legal and very hard to prevent these days.
Collection agencies will often dig deep to find debtors. This might include looking at old credit applications for the names and addresses of co-signers such as family members. They may review your most current credit report to see if there was a change in employment. They can also access public databases such as Intelius.com or USSearch.com to find relatives that may know where you are living or working. Credit Card Debts are among the most common types of charged off debts.
The dreadful calls
Once they have this information the collection agency will begin calling the persons they found through their searches. Many times they will simply ask to leave a message or ask if the person they are talking to knows your current whereabouts. This tactic is often very successful.
One of the lesser known reasons collection agencies call relatives and friends is to shame the debtor into paying. No one wants his or her family to know that they are being tracked down for unpaid bills. They will use your guilt and embarrassment to their advantage. Current law forbids collection agents from coming right out and telling your family and friends that they are tracking you down, but the manner in which these calls are made leave negative impressions nonetheless.
Consumer protection laws on your side
As mentioned earlier, there are laws that can help protect consumers from illegal collection tactics. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is perhaps the main law for consumers to be aware of in cases like this. The act does allow collection agencies certain types of behavior but restricts the more aggressive types of collection efforts.
For instance, even through a collection agency can contact family and friends and ask how to reach you, they are not allowed to:
Discuss the details of your account.
Acknowledge that they are a debt collector
Insinuate that you haven’t paid an outstanding obligation
Lie or threaten action
Attempt to collect money from other parties
Call repeatedly/exhibit harassing behavior
A nice solution
One of the best ways to get collection agents off your trail is to get your credit repaired. You can do this afford-ably by working with a legal firm such as Lexington Law. This firm has over 20 years of experience helping consumers to get their credit reports cleaned up and their credit repaired in the process. They can help you, too!