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According to a report from the Federal Trade Commission, one debt collection company is in big trouble after making harassing phone calls to consumers. What’s even worse is that the money was never owed in the first place. Whether money is owed or not, a debt collector is limited in how he or she can interact with consumers because of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. While this particular case did not take place in Florida, similar complaints are made in the state each year.

The report explains that a debt collections company made very harassing phone calls to consumers, which included threats, cursing and lies. These tactics were used on over 10,000 people, convincing them to pay out an estimated $2.1 million in money that they did not owe, and which the debt collection agency had no right to collect. During the phone calls, the caller would make the consumers believe that they were being sued and that they would go to jail if they did not pay.

While making these calls, the debt collectors allegedly pretended to be from a law firm, but the FTC has confirmed that none of them were actually attorneys. The callers would use threats and fear to convince the victims to pay off a payday loan or other debt with a debit card by phone. A temporary restraining order has been filed against the agency, and its assets have all been frozen for the investigation.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects debtors in Florida and other states from harassing and threatening debt collection practices. Even in cases where a debt is actually owed, the debt collector still cannot threaten, curse at or trick the debtor into making a payment. If someone owes a debt that he or she cannot afford to pay, they may consider speaking with a bankruptcy attorney who can go over different ways to stop debt collections and make a fresh financial start.

Source: charlotteobserver.com, “NC debt collectors lied, cursed and ran $2M scam, FTC says“, Adam Bell, Aug. 30, 2017