What should I do if a collector contacts me in bankruptcy?

On Behalf of | May 8, 2024 | Bankruptcy |

Dealing with relentless calls from debt collectors can be overwhelming, which is why bankruptcy offers the option to stop collection efforts so you can relieve yourself of the pressure and begin to regain your financial footing. However, there is the chance some of these calls will not stop, at least not at first.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to handle debt collectors during this challenging time.

Verify that the collector is legitimate

First, be vigilant against potential scams. Illegitimate debt collectors may attempt to exploit your vulnerability during bankruptcy. Be wary if a collector threatens you with criminal charges, refuses to provide information about the debt they claim you owe, or demands personal financial information. Legitimate collectors must furnish details such as their company name, address and the origin of the debt in question.

To verify the legitimacy of the collector, request their professional license number. You can cross-check this information with the state attorney general’s office or regulatory agency overseeing debt collection practices. If the collector fails to provide these details or exhibits other warning signs, it may be a scam.

How to handle a legit collector

If you receive contact from a legitimate debt collector after you have filed for bankruptcy, you should inform the collector of your filing. Provide them with your bankruptcy case number and the date you filed. Additionally, if your debts are listed in the bankruptcy filing, remind the collector of this fact. From that point forward, the debt collector must communicate with your attorney instead of contacting you directly while the bankruptcy case is pending.

Once a bankruptcy court discharges your debt, the discharge order bars creditors and debt collectors from attempting to collect those discharged debts. If a collector persists in contacting you about discharged debts, remind them of the discharge order and that their actions violate federal law. Keep a record of any such violations, as they may strengthen your case if you need to take further legal action.

Navigating debt collection efforts during bankruptcy can be daunting, but you possess the power to take control. By understanding your rights, you can effectively manage interactions with debt collectors and focus on rebuilding your financial future.