Rogue Collector Calls

Katherine says a debt collector called family members and identified herself as such. Is that legal, and what can Katherine do to stop it?

QUESTION: Katherine in Georgia from My Total Money Makeover says a debt collector called family members and identified herself as such. Is that legal, and what can Katherine do to stop it?

ANSWER: No. If she in any way identified herself as a debt collector, she has broken federal law. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act says that you cannot violate someone’s privacy. You cannot discuss someone’s debt with someone else. They cannot do that.

What you need to do is file a complaint with Federal Trade Commission on this collector. It would be better if the next time the collector calls one of the two that they record her. You don’t even have to tell her you’re recording her. Just record her. “That’s illegal! It’s wiretapping.” So is what she’s doing, so just record her. Get it on tape so that you can turn it over to the attorney general or the Federal Trade Commission and get something done about shutting down this illegal collector because they’re misbehaving. It’s okay to collect a debt. There’s nothing wrong with someone calling and saying, “Hey, you owe me money.” There is nothing wrong with that at all, but you have to do it within the confines of the law, and you should do it within the confines of good taste. This is, of course, neither. This is just simple harassment. It’s just simple Gestapo tactics. That’s all it is.

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