…The Surprising Way Debt Collectors Know Where You Work
BusinessInsider.com — It is “perhaps one of the most powerful and private databases of American’s personal information ever created, containing 190 million employment and salary records, covering more than one-third of US adults.”
So there is this site called The Work Number and basically what they do is employment verifications for employers. That sounds OK right? Well, it is. It keeps companies from having to spend time verifying employment, they just outsource the job. One catch however, is that the company is required to provide The Work Number with weekly salary and employment information. So to make this requirement easy to handle, most companies provide The Work Number with access to their HR database directly.
What this means is that The Work Number has the work and salary history of millions of Americans. You might think that this is no big deal, after all they have to do employment verifications, and they need that information. Here’s the problem, The Work Number is owned by Equifax, one of the big 3 of credit reporting agencies, and they like to sell information, and sell they do. They market directly to debt collectors.
…ever wonder how the bill collector got your work number? Well, there you go.
Are debt collectors allowed to call you at work? Yes and no. Let’s take a look at some of the things the bill collectors can and can’t do. Keep in mind that what applies to debt collectors doesn’t always apply to the creditor who is trying to collect their own debt.
- FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) is what regulates debt collectors and their practices.
- Third party disclosure — debt collectors are prohibited from disclosing or discussing your credit or debt, with any third party. There are exceptions however, they may talk to your attorney, a credit reporting agency and the original creditor. They can also contact your spouse or your parents if you are a minor.
- Debt collectors are not allowed to contact you at unusual or inconvenient times or places. Typically the time to make calls is between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
- They are not to contact you if you have an attorney or other agency handling your debt.
- They may contact you at work unless, your employee prohibits calls at work or you advise them that you cannot receive calls at work, it’s best that you send a letter to that affect.
- They may not harass or threaten you. Specifically they cannot:
- Threaten violence
- Any harm or threaten to harm you or another person’s reputation or property
- Use profane or abusive language
- Call you repeatedly, or
- Make calls to you without identifying themselves as bill collectors
- Collection companies are not allowed to add interest of fees or charges that are not authorized by the original agreement or by state law
- …and many others
There is one tried and true method to get the debt collectors off of your back… pay your bills! I know it sounds easier than it is. If you find yourself overwhelmed with debt the best thing to do is contact a professional to help you get your life back.
If you are currently past due, the benefits of a debt management program will provide you with a fresh start. The biggest long-term benefit of the debt management plan is the reduction in interest. Reduced interest allows you to pay off your principal balances faster while saving you possibly thousands of dollars in finance charges.
In order to determine your eligibility you can fill out an online budget application form Now and then you will speak with one of our Certified Personal Finance Counselors © at (800) 920-2262.