As someone already suffering from debt, the last thing you want is to deal with debt collector misrepresentation on top of that. Unfortunately, debt collector misrepresentation does not get as much coverage as harassment, so it is sometimes harder to notice the signs.
What exactly are those signs? And under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which actions can debt collectors not legally take?
Misrepresentation vs. harassment
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau discusses debt collector misrepresentation and harassment. Misrepresentation differs from harassment in several major and important ways. It often focuses on coercion and lying in order to get you to cave to their terms, which often involves paying back your debt even if you do not have the means to.
For example, a popular tactic is to threaten you with a lawsuit or with an arrest. But if they have no actual intention to follow through with these threats, or no ability to carry them out, then it is misrepresentative behavior.
Lying and misconstruing data
They may also lie about or misconstrue data in order to trick you into compliance. A popular method involves obfuscating the actual amount of assets or money that you owe in your debt. If you feel like the debt is larger, then you may take more drastic actions to pay it off, fearing for larger repercussions than you would actually face.
Any sort of threat that they have no means to go through with also falls under this category. This can include threats of eviction, or threats involving your current state of employment. If you face such issues, consider contacting legal help to review your options.