Dealing with debt is already a stressful matter in and of itself. So the last thing you need on top of that is even more stress, in the form of harassment from a debt collector. Yet this problem affects thousands of people in debt across the country.
The first thing you can do for yourself is identify harassment when you face it. This way, you can take quick action to protect yourself if necessary and bring the harassment to a stop.
Aggressive harassment tactics
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau examines harassing behaviors from debt collectors. Harassment can come in different forms, but all forms ultimately serve the same goal: to scare you into compliance, even if you do not have the financial means to do so.
Some harassment implements more aggressive tactics than others. For example, debt collectors might make direct threats against you or your loved ones, threatening to kick you out of your home and onto the streets. They might use crass, vulgar, harsh or crude language against you, including cursing or hurling insults.
Harassing in person and by phone
Repetitive phone calls serve as another common form of harassment. This keeps the recipient anxious and on edge all throughout the day and night, as you never know when the next call will come in. Debt collectors sometimes leave harassing messages without identifying themselves, too.
They may even physically intimidate you. An extreme but plausible example involves debt collectors parking outside of your home, just to threaten you with their presence. Even if they do not take action, this alone is enough to frighten plenty of people and is a good enough reason to seek legal help.