debt collectors
7 Steps Seniors Can Take When The Debt Collector Knocks On The Door
By:   //  Consumer News, Education, Money

We have covered a lot of self-help topics in our Investigative Reports section. However, one of
the most striking news in this section has been the story about debt collectors who harassed the
elderly – and the ones who owed debts dating back decades.

If you have worked hard most of your life and saved enough money to retire comfortably, you
definitely don’t expect to hear a debt collector knocking on your door and telling you that you
owe money to the country.

Another shocking fact that we must show you is the following:

“Did you know that in 2015, the average household had $130,000 in debt, $15,7662 of which is
in credit cards? If that is not bad enough, many are spending more than $2,500 a year on credit
card interest alone.”

To help all the elderly and seniors out there, we are outlining the best steps to take when they
hear the debt collector knocking on their door.

Get Your Act Together

Now is the right time to get all of your financial records, tally up all of your debts and pull out all
the financial records. You need to sit down and start taking an accounting of all your assets and
liabilities.

Ask Yourself The Following Questions

You need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What have I managed to save?
  • Do I have a pension – or a retirement account?
  • Am I on a fixed income?
  • How much do I have in my savings account – liquid and not liquid?
  • Do I still work and have an income? If so, where is the money going?

Make sure to write every answer so that you can see your situation and get a hold of your
mortgage payments, car payments, and even your monthly grocery bills.

Start Living By A Set Of New Rules

If you have looked at your income and expenses, it’s time to start rescheduling your priorities
and live by your new rules. The best way to do this is to keep a diary of what you are spending,
put your planned expenses inside and write down everything that you spend in a week.

Tell Your Story

Even though most of the debt collectors won’t want to hear all the details about how you ended
up owing money, you should explain how you came to find yourself in this situation. For
example, you can tell the debt collectors that someone in your family became ill and the medical
bills became much to handle.

Whatever you do, keep your cool and explain your situation calmly and consciously without giving
too many details. It is also important to note that you are under no obligation to speak to a debt
collector.

What Not To Say

You should never give your debt collection the following things:

  • Bank account numbers
  • Social security numbers
  • The value of your current assets

Even if they request this information from you, keep the conversation short and sweet without
revealing anything from this to them (as they can make automatic withdrawals from your
account).

Keep A Record Of Everything

When the debt collector knocks on your door, make sure to be ready with a pen and notebook,
keeping a record of any communication that you might have with them. You should always
remember that you have these rights under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Verify That You Owe Money

Many people receive calls and letters from debt collectors for money that they don’t owe. This is why you must be certain that you owe money before you start providing any information. Hence, it is always wise to ask the collection agency to verify your debt.

In the end, you should always know your rights under The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(FDCPA). As that act cites, debt collectors are prohibited from engaging in unfair, deceptive or
abusive practices in the collection of consumer debts.

In other words, this means that no debt collector can call and harass you or threaten or
misrepresent themselves in any way.

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