No, Debt Collectors Can’t Put You in Jail

stockxpertcom_id185619_jpg_b966e7bcf2a63dcef9b24283177b7745Debt collectors can become pretty aggressive when it comes to strong-arming consumers who haven’t paid their debts, but jail is one threat they cannot make.

That doesn’t mean they don’t try. Some do, and if you want to go through the time and trouble to pursue it, you can bring suit against them for it. You may even be able to find a lawyer who will take the case on a contingency basis. As with any legal case, you’ll have to prove it, so keep copies of letters and record their phone calls.

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act you also have a case against them if they break other rules – such as threatening to sue if they have no intention of doing so, harassing you with phone calls in the middle of the night, calling you at work, and calling your friends or employer.

Something else you may need to prove is the illegitimacy of a debt. You may have had accounts “erased” through a bankruptcy, but that won’t stop some debt collectors from purchasing those debts for a few pennies on the dollar and attempting to collect. If this happens, write them with a copy of your paperwork showing that you are no longer obligated to pay the debt.

A second instance in which you may be hounded to pay is when a family member passes away, leaving debts. Some debt collectors will research to find the next of kin and attempt to convince you that you must pay. Some will threaten legal action while others will attempt to play on your bereavement – telling you that your loved one will not “rest easy” until you’ve paid off his or her obligations.

Industry experts expected to see more than 8,500 lawsuits against debt collectors in 2009. Many of these suits will be filed for the legitimate reasons mentioned here. Others are completely unfounded – showing that there are crooks on both sides of the issue.

So what can debt collectors do if you don’t pay? They can get a judgment against you. If this happens, they can garnish your wages, access your bank accounts, and place a lien on your property.

What they cannot do is access your Social Security or Veteran’s Benefits. The key to keeping these funds safe is to deposit them in a separate account. The bank needs to know that these are Social Security or Disability funds, and if they’re mixed with other income, they have no way to determine which money is which.

Author: Mike Clover your resource for free credit reports, credit cards, loans, and ground breaking credit news.


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Disclaimer: This information has been compiled and provided by as an informational service to the public. While our goal is to provide information that will help consumers to manage their credit and debt, this information should not be considered legal advice. Such advice must be specific to the various circumstances of each person's situation, and the general information provided on these pages should not be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.