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Debt Collectors: Do You Know Who Has Access To Your Records?
Have you ever wondered who’s on the other end of the phone when you’re contacted about an outstanding debt? Most of us would be quite surprised to know that people with felony convictions often work as debt collectors – and they often have complete access to your records.
An interview with Budd Hibbs
Bud Hibbs, a debt collection consumer advocate and consultant for over 25 years who has written several books, is approved to teach CLE courses through the State Bar of Texas and has appeared in numerous radio and television programs including the Oprah Winfrey Show, says that there’s a big problem in the industry and that is the amount of people working in the industry who have felony convictions. He explained:
There is no law that says somebody with a felony conviction cannot access our records. If you don’t understand what they can access, let me give you an example. I had a daughter that lived with me and she grew up, went to school, got married and moved to another state. Well, if you’re looking for me and my wife, for example, you’re going to find the root of this proverbial branch of our family tree that extends to the state where she lives. You can then go to that location and you can see her and her husband. You would get her maiden name, her social security number, her date of birth, what car she drives, what credit cards he has and on and on and on.
The amount of information that the credit bureaus make available to these people would scare most of us. You wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if you saw exactly what’s out there about you that you have no control over and you can’t even change it if it’s inaccurate.
Using fear to collect debts
Hibbs says that fear is the number one factor used by these people to obtain money from you. He provided the following example, “A collector will call and just say, ‘You owe me money. My hand’s out. Please pay.’ You say, ‘No, I’m not going to.’ But, then they call and say, ‘I’ve got a warrant for your arrest or we’re processing your warrants or you’ve committed bank fraud. It’s federal now.’ Now, if you’re not a savvy consumer, if you’re not adept to what’s going on, more than likely, you’re going to cough over money that you probably did not legally owe to these people.”
If you are being harassed by a debt collector, contact an attorney whose practice focuses on issues relating to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to discuss your situation. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential. Click here, to contact an experienced debtor’s rights lawyer. We may be able to help.
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