Debt collectors are a fact of life when you’re behind on payments, and their phone calls can range from very annoying to downright scary. Freedom Financial Asset Management has a few tips on what you should know about protecting your personal information when they call.
You Do Not Have To Provide Personal Information
Debt collectors may want to know various personal information. Even very sensitive information such as your social security number, driver’s license number and more. Do you have to give out this information? Freedom Financial Asset Management says no.
There are very few people who need to know such sensitive information and a debt collector certainly isn’t one of them. In fact, you can turn the tables around. Ask them to verify the information they have on you, including the debt amount. You can ask debt collectors to reveal all the debt details such as total outstanding debt, how many payments are you past due, who are they collecting for and the related account number.
Debt collectors might even try contacting your family to track you down. They can’t provide any details about your debt to your family. When they do finally get in contact with you, they can no longer contact your family.
Another great tip from Freedom Financial Asset Management is to log dates and times of all phone conversations with the debt collector. Keep any email and snail mail correspondence as well.
Have Settled Debts Removed From Your Credit
Debts with late payments will remain on your credit report for seven years. Overdue payments can do major damage to your credit.
Freedom Financial Asset Management says you can always try negotiating with the collector to partially pay off the debt or pay it in full if you can. Ask them to also remove the bad mark from your credit report since you are paying down the debt with a lump sum.
Statute Of Limitations On Debt
Did you know that there is a finite amount of time allowed by law to collect on a debt? It’s usually two to six years. After this time, the creditor can’t contact you to collect on the debt.
That doesn’t mean your out of the woods yet, though. Freedom Financial Asset Management explains that the uncollected bad debt remains on your credit report.
Also, creditors will often sell this uncollected debt for pennies on the dollar to collection agencies. These agencies can then contact you to inquire about the debt. Be aware that acknowledging the debt is yours basically restarts the collection process and puts the debt back into play.
Even if you negotiated the bad debt off of your credit report a while back, acknowledging ownership of the debt can make it reappear on your credit. This also means you are once again liable for paying the debt.
If you find yourself in this situation, contacting a debt or bankruptcy attorney is a good option.