Sunday, September 04, 2016

Don't Pay a Debt That is Not Yours



Man reading letter from debt collector and thinking he doesn't owe the ... 
When a financial crisis occurs many people often become victims of scams and get taken advantage of because they don't know their rights and allow fear to cause them to make bad decisions.  Companies take advantage of many consumers by using guilt and fear. Do not take responsibility for a debt you do not owe because once you do; you are bound to that debt and will have to pay it.  Then the company has the right to report the account on your credit reports.

Many companies are desperate for business and are looking for someone, anyone to pay back an old debt. Companies are now reaching out to relatives and friends of the deceased to try to recoup money for delinquent debts.  Many companies also buy mailing lists, email lists and telephone lists to find victims.

Based on the Fair Debt Practices Collection Act (FDPCA) by law you are not required to pay a debt that does not belong to you unless your name is on the account as a joint account holder. A creditor can only contact you for payment for a debt of a deceased spouse or parent who had an estate or any assets worth value, i.e. an inheritance, a banking account, boat, car, home, stocks, bonds, or other assets.  The money owed to the creditor is paid by the estate after any money owed to the government is paid first. Here are seven ways to avoid paying someone else’s debt.

  1. Obtain the caller's name, title, name of the company they are calling from and what they said, their direct phone number, email address and mailing address. 
  2. Tell the caller you will contact your attorney and then contact them if it is determined that money is owed to them. 
  3. If you have any bank accounts or other accounts that are in the name of your deceased, spouse or parent's name put them in your name to prevent creditors from garnishing those accounts.
  4. If you feel you are being harassed tell the company to stop contacting you by phone and notify you in writing. 
  5. Dispute the account on your credit reports at annualcreditreport.com.
  6. File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org.
  7. Learn about your rights as a consumer at ftc.gov and file a complaint against the company.

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