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The following article was authored by  Justin Coke , a Columbia, MO attorney.  Justin Coke graduated from the University of Missouri Law School in 2007.  Since then he has practiced primarily bankruptcy and federal criminal law.  He opened the Coke Law Firm in 2010.  More information about Justin and his firm can be found on his website:  He can also be reached by phone at (573) 886-8919.
The Fair Debt Collection act is meant to protect you from overzealous debt collectors. But some debt collectors will do anything to get paid. One time, a debt collector threatened to rape my client! That collector was based out of New York, but hired an Irish phone company to mask their location. But the truth is that collectors are a lot more bark than bite. Here are some common lies I hear all the time:


“I’m from the FBI (or another police agency) and if you don’t pay right now we’re going to arrest you.”

No he’s not, and no they aren’t. A debt is a civil matter, not a criminal one. As long as you haven’t bounced a check, the police could not care less whether you paid your medical bill on time.


If you don’t pay now, we’ll garnish your wages tomorrow.”

Unless the creditor has sued you and gotten a judgment, they cannot garnish your wages. It’s as simple as that.


If you don’t pay, we’ll take your car.”

Unless they hold a lien on your vehicle, they cannot take your vehicle.


We can collect on a debt that’s beyond the statute of limitations.”

This depends on the state you live in, but if somebody starts calling about a really old debt, there’s a good chance they’re bluffing. They can’t do anything to collect and are just fishing for money.


You are a deadbeat and a loser, and you should just pay your debts.”

The debt collector doesn’t know you from Adam. They don’t know your situation, and they don’t care. They are abusing you to get money out of you. If a debt collector starts insulting you, it’s time to hang up.


If you file bankruptcy, you’ll never be able to borrow money again.”

Simply not true. Most credit scores go up after bankruptcy, because a credit score is an indicator of your ability to pay your debts. The odds of you being able to pay your car loan go up when there are no other debts for you to worry about.
A debt collector’s primary weapon is annoyance. They want to scare you, intimidate you, and insult you into paying money. All you need to do to defend yourself is to hang up. The less you respond to their tactics, the more leverage you have to make a settlement offer to pay much less than the balance of the debt.