Numerous people in Pennsylvania struggle with debt. One recent study found that the average credit card balance for a Pennsylvania resident was $6,146. While it seems high, the actual highest in the nation belongs to Alaska, with an average credit card balance of $8,515.
As anyone with credit card debt knows, debt collectors can utilize some unsavory tactics to try to get you to pay. It is vital to be aware of your rights so that you know when someone tries to take advantage of you. Here are some common claims you may hear from a debt collector that are outright lies.
"I will take your property or garnish your wages."
If you have debt, then a debt collection company may garnish your wages. However, you will first receive a summons to appear in court. Simply hearing it over the phone is not enough. If you do receive something in the mail that states you need to appear in court, you need to do exactly as it says or else you could face the consequences for years to come.
"You owe much more than you think you do."
You likely have a good idea of how much you owe. When a debt collector tells you over the phone you owe more than you thought you did, you need to take it with a grain of salt. It is illegal for a collector to misrepresent how much you owe, but some unscrupulous collectors will try to get you to pay even more. You can always ask the collector to provide proof of the amount.
"I work for the government, and I can send you to jail."
Debt collectors usually do not work for the government. The only exception would be ones dealing with unpaid child support and taxes. Additionally, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act means that debt collectors can never threaten you with jail time. You should immediately report the collector to the Federal Trade Commission.