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How fraudulent collection schemes impact legitimate efforts

Debt collection practices have long been viewed as aggressive, unpleasant and intrusive. This is perhaps not all that surprising considering the fact that many people who are the subject of collection efforts are likely trying to avoid paying their debts and don't look too favorably on those who try to get them to make their payments.

There may be other factors that could also be contributing to the overall negative view on debt collection. One such factor may be linked to fraudulent debt collection efforts. Recently, for example, one company engaged in a widespread scheme to deceive people into paying debts they did not owe.

According to reports, one company (as well as several others who followed the company's lead) contacted millions of people to collect debts. They purchased personal information on the consumers and used that to make people think that they were a legitimate collections agency and to demand immediate payment.

However, the companies apparently engaged in practices specifically prohibited by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, including threatening jail time and calling at prohibited times. Of course, they were also fabricating the debts that they were claiming were owed.

Cases like this contribute to the overwhelming problems that legitimate collections agents face when trying to collect unpaid debts. Consumers may be more hesitant to respond to lawful efforts; they may develop inaccurate expectations of what collections practices are allowed; they may also become somewhat desensitized to calls from collections agents and therefore fail to take actual calls and requests seriously.

With all this in mind, it can be important for parties looking to collect debt to consider working with a law firm that can reinforce their collection efforts. With this type of support, it can be possible to avoid any potentially misleading or unlawful actions that can further complicate matters for companies trying to collect debt.

Source: Time, "Feds: Millions Targeted By Phantom Debt Collection Scheme," Bob Sullivan, April 9, 2015

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