Calls from debt collectors can be both annoying and scary. Annoying to the point that you literally want to cancel your phone plan and scary when they employ their scare tactics such as possible jail time. Many times, they will even attempt to lure you into making decisions that may be contrary to your own interests. However, you can take steps to protect yourself. The following are three things you should do when debt collectors begin to call.
Decide if You Want to Talk to Them Now
As stated above, debt collectors will often call you at the worst possible times. This is done on purpose in order to get you to quickly agree to a repayment plan that is less than favorable to you. When a debt collector calls, you should decide to speak with them during a time when you can take notes and look over statements together. Simply tell them that you are way too busy to speak and suggest they call you back during a time that suits you best.
Get Everything in Writing
Unfortunately, there are both legitimate debt collectors and scammers. That is why you should always request proof of any claimed debts in writing. Simply ask the person on the phone to provide you with documents showing the debt in collection. This is not an admission to the debt, and you should certainly not admit to owing it. You simply need real documentation of it. A true legal debt collector will give you no issue with this and will provide you with said documents once your address is confirmed. Only then should you begin working with them on a repayment plan, and it would be wise to keep a record of conversations. It is critical that any terms be obtained in writing before making any financial commitments.
Keep Your Income to Yourself
Often times, debt collectors will have access to your financial records, including the number of credit cards you have open and your payment history. In addition, they may also know the company that you work for. They will no doubt use this information to convince you to state your income. However, it is best to keep these details to yourself until you develop a more detailed financial plan.
Once you have dealt with those types of calls, it is finally time for you to sit down and go over all your financial documents. Make sure you know your rights so that you know how to properly deal with debt collectors. Keeping these tips in mind can help you keep your peace of mind and develop a game plan for if or when a debt collector reaches out to you.