Aggressive Bill Collectors Use Illegal Scare Tactics to Intimidate Chicago Debtors

Once upon a time, ghouls, goblins and guys in hockey masks with chainsaws were the scariest part of Halloween. Unfortunately, the frightening characters haunting us this year are a lot more real.

If you've got a lot of debt, you know what I'm talking about - bill collectors. With the economy in the dumps, debt collection agencies are getting even more aggressive than usual. The FTC receives tens of thousands of complaints each year about bill collectors that overstep their bounds, harassing folks over the phone at work, name calling and threatening to seize property and wages or even throw us in jail. These kinds of strong-arm tactics are illegal, and there's a way to put a stop to them, according to Chicago bankruptcy attorneys.

If you don't feel you owe the debt, contact the collector as soon as possible. With so many Americans in debt, mistakes are more common than you may think. Sometimes you might inherit a phone number from someone evading debt, or you might just be unfortunate enough to share a name. Even worse, someone may have stolen your identity to ring up debts. Be clear that the debt is not yours and that you want the situation resolved. By law, the debt collector is obligated to investigate the debt.

More likely, though, you do owe money but don't have the means to pay it back. However, this does not give bill collectors the freedom to treat you with disrespect or false threats.

It's your right to control the situation. Rather than evade the collector - which will only make the situation worse - confront the problem head-on. Ask for the caller's name, agency, mailing address and fax number and for the name of the creditor and size of the debt. You have the right to ask for all future correspondence to be written, rather than over the phone. You also have the right to prohibit the collection agency from calling your employee, relatives or friends. Keep a file of all correspondence, and follow up on your requests immediately in letter form. If you agree on a repayment plan, get it in writing. And if the creditor makes threats or otherwise fails to treat you fairly, don't hesitate to report them to the FTC or BBB.

Bill collectors are good at making you feel like you have no say in your financial future, but you do. In fact, it's your constitutional right - bankruptcy. A professional Chicago bankruptcy lawyer can determine if bankruptcy is the answer for protecting your assets, stopping collection calls and finding an affordable way to pay off debt. Find out more today with a free one-on-one debt analysis. And take the fear out of your finances for good.

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