Managing debt can be one of the most complicated and difficult part of life that doesn’t get enough attention. Managing debt properly can unlock the ability to obtain capital at necessary and vital parts of your life (buying a home, buying cars, financing education, etc.). However poorly managing debt can lead to restriction of capital in those times as well as even prevent opportunities throughout life. One misconception with proper debt management is that you only have to worry about it when you’re younger. That is not correct, this is something you must be good at throughout your entire life.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently wrote a piece discussing debt management later in life and we wanted to share some of their ideas and thoughts which we feel are good ideas for our community of readers to know about. One of the topics recently discussed was the 4 things that older Americans need to know about debt collection problems. One thing we know that will always come with poor debt management are debt collectors, some of which are especially nasty and even prey on older Americans.
The four things discussed in the piece were
1) Get more information if you don’t recognize the debt – As mentioned there are almost never ending scams targeting the most vulnerable amongst us. Fake IRS calls, fake debt collector calls making up debts never attributable to you, etc. So if ever approached by a company claiming they own debt of yours, make sure you find out as much information as you can about the debt they claim and if you don’t recognize it, you should know that you do have options.
2) Dispute the debt if it’s not yours or the amount is wrong – fairly simple, if you conduct proper research and find out the debt isn’t yours then don’t pay it and file a dispute letter with the company claiming to own your debt. There are many different sample letters available, but the CFPB has some great options for a few different circumstances.
3) Stop the harassing calls – This can be one of the worst parts of dealing with these collectors. Some of them will call almost all hours of the day and repeatedly. If you have disputed the debt or if it isn’t yours there are many sample letters from before you can send to the companies to demand they stop calling. If they violate these letters they may be in breach of federal regulations for debt collectors.
4) Know your rights – As with many situations the Federal Government has a strict set of rules for these collectors to follow and many of them are in open violation. Many older Americans live off of their Social Security benefits and are concerned if they have ever been threatened or called by debt collectors. However for most cases Federal benefits are protected from debt collectors, but they won’t tell you that. So it’s important to know the rules before you try to play the game with any of these people.
The CFPB has a lot of great information when it comes to protecting yourself against certain types of nefarious groups out there that prey on people. At LDF-Holdings we want to make sure our readers have the full story and are aware of their rights and federal regulations at all times. Contact us if you have any other questions.