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Debt Collector Harassment After Death?

By March 1, 2013Other

There are few things more hated than debt collectors…well, and maybe lawyers, but we think that is just because they haven’t met our attorneys yet!  Debt collectors can often be very persistent, rude, threatening, demeaning and overly insistent.  Some individuals have reported debt collectors calling them at all hours of the day and night, calling relatives to get information, and threatening the debtor with law suits.  Aspects of these behaviors are technically against the law for debt collectors, but it doesn’t seem to stop all of them from doing it!

However, lately some even worse behavior has been coming to light – debt collectors pursuing the deceased!  That’s right; lately there have been reports of debt collectors harassing the loved ones of the deceased in order to claim funds for a supposed debt – some of which are not even real.

Recently a news story was published about a Houston woman, Allison Currie, who received threatening voicemails from a debt collector trying to collect funds from her sister.  Currie’s sister, however, passed away in 2005 at only 18 years of age – making her very unlikely to have incurred the supposed debt.  When Currie attempted to call the company back, the number rang repeatedly with no answer.  She also searched for the company, but the name appeared to be non-existent.  Local media also attempted to find the company, but with no luck.  It seems that there is a scam in place to attempt to collect debts that do not exist – and they are even harassing the family members of the deceased in order to claim the false debts.

Hopefully things will be improving in regards to debt collector behavior as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be monitoring 175 of the more prominent debt collection agencies, a protection that is supposed to start this very year.  The one problem with this is that there are far more than 175 debt collection agencies – in fact, there are over 4,500 in the United States!  So, while we hope there are changes and improvements, it seems like we still have a long way to go before debt collectors learn proper behaviors.

Until this problem is hopefully resolved one day, please be cautious with debt collectors.  Make sure that you actually do truly owe a debt before being frightened or harassed into paying.  Also, if necessary, seek legal counsel to settle any debts, or to fight any debt collectors that are stepping outside their legal parameters.  As always, be cautious in matters involving funds, and make sure that you seek to avoid any scam artists that may attempt to lay claim on something they are not entitled to.

If you have questions or concerns, or for more information, contact our office at 888.222.1328.

MHAbout Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years.  Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects.  We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

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