Debt Collector Threatening You With Jail? That’s Good News!

Got a call today from a consumer who had received a call from a person claiming to be debt collector.  This “collector” had told the consumer that not paying a debt was fraud, and that he could go to jail for that.  Really?  Oh no! And will lightning strike him as well?  How about alien abduction?  Is it true that people who are behind on their debts are ten times more likely to be abducted by aliens?  

The consumer thought that the jail threat was a bluff, but he was still worried about the debt.  I asked a few more questions, then I told him that he could relax.  The person calling him was not a real debt collector.  This “collector” was not really  going to sue the consumer, or adversely impact the consumer’s credit report.  He was a con artist, plain and simple.  When the con artist realizes the consumer is never going to give him a bank account number in order to make an emergency payment to stay out of jail, he will give up and go try to con someone else.  

Real collectors are soulless automatons tasked with getting as much money from you as possible, but they want to keep their jobs.  If a debt collector consistently makes silly threats,he will lose his job, and a debt collection company operating in open and obvious violation of the law will eventually be shut down.  Now, I am  NOT saying that you should trust debt collectors.  Remember the soulless automaton thing?    If they can get away with something they will.  My point is that a real collector, with a real office where you can find him and serve him with a lawsuit, knows he cannot get away with silly threats of jail.  It’s too obvious.  What you have to worry about from a real collector is something that he can explain away as a mistake, like collecting more than is owed, or threatening a lawsuit on a debt that is beyond the statute of limitations, or using a process server he knows will throw the Summons away and falsify the proof of service (“Oops, did our agent claim to have “served” you at an address that you haven’t lived at for five years and then lie under oath about it?”  How shocking! We had no idea such a thing would happen!”).

But back to the jail threat.  You could try reporting the con artist to the FTC, but he is not a real collector, and he does not care about the FTC.  He rotates phone numbers and addresses.  He may be calling from Bangladesh.  You can’t successfully sue him because you can’t find him.   Just relax, laugh, and poke fun at him.  Play that game where you put him on speaker phone and go back to doing whatever you were doing before he called while trying to waste as much of his time as possible.

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