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Debt collectors filing lawsuits to collect

Residents of Washington, D.C., who have experience with debt collectors may be interested in a tactic that some are reportedly employing to make collections. According to consumer advocates, many agencies have taken to filing lawsuits against people who owe, and their strategy works best when people who are sued don't show up for court to defend themselves.

If someone is sued for debts, not showing up in court can result in a judge freezing their bank accounts, garnishing their paychecks or putting a lien on their home. In some cases, collectors file consumer debt lawsuits in error, or the targets of the lawsuits are not actually notified that they are being sued. A judge who deals with credit card debt cases said that collectors sometimes sue without necessarily being able to prove their case, but if the person being sued doesn't show up to offer a defense, then the collector is at an advantage.

When someone believes they are being wrongfully sued over debts a collector claims they owe, they have the option of filing a countersuit. Because debts often get sold, it can be difficult for judges to analyze claims, especially as years pass and debt gets older. The Federal Trade Commission says that its most common complaints from consumers involve debt collectors. Federal law prohibits certain types of deceptive debt collection practices, and further regulation is under consideration.

One legal way to stop debt collection efforts immediately is to file bankruptcy. Consumers can file either chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy, and while they have different outcomes, both put a halt to collection efforts immediately. Someone who is having difficulties with debt or collection efforts could contact an attorney for advice and to discuss their options.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Debt Collectors Have Figured Out A Way To Seize Your Wages And Savings", Hunter Stuart, June 03, 2014

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