Can they arrest you for not paying a bill? Bill collectors are now outsourced globally just like any other customer service. And since they are not in the United States, they are ignoring standard American bill collection laws, procedure, and protections.
What are your greatest fears about bill collectors? There are two illegal tactics and one terrifying collection tactic that no one wants to deal with. They are someone:
- Calling your relatives about your debt
- Calling your boss about your finances
- Threatening you with arrest if you don’t pay, and involving your relatives.
The last is the terrifying bill collection tactic some offshore collectors are now doing. One client who filed bankruptcy has been receiving repeated calls from a collector who will not identify himself, nor the company he is collecting for. He has repeatedly told her the sheriff will arrest her the same afternoon for not paying the bill. He also says that if she does not pay, her mother and sister will be subpoenaed to testify against her. He ignores requests to provide verification of the debt as required by American law. He has her name, address, date of birth, and even her social security number.
Although we do not know the creditor he is calling for, the amount of the debt corresponds closely to an online payday loan her husband took out before filing bankruptcy. That may be why he has her personal identification information.
There are two possibilities here. First, he is actually collecting for a real creditor. I highly doubt this possibility because saying they will arrest you for not paying a bill violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Law, the bankruptcy automatic stay, and the bankruptcy discharge injunction. The second and most likely possibility is that the whole thing is a scam. I say this because the way they he is collecting would subject both him and the company he is working for to serious civil liability if he could be found out. Just a plain, simple crook out to steal from you.
This scammer is looking for the quick hit. The phone number he calls from does not correspond with any real address. I have communicated with a number of bankruptcy attorneys nationwide, and they all report their clients are getting the same kind of calls for bills that have been long discharged.
The bottom line is be very careful about the information you put out about yourself online, and if you get a collection call from someone saying he will arrest you for not paying a bill, especially for a bill you know you no longer owe, be smart, and ignore the caller. He is just trying to use a terrifying bill collection tactic to scam you out of your money.