If you find yourself in debt, you will also likely find yourself dealing with debt collectors. In most cases, they will follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) well.
In other cases, though, they may attempt to say or do things to get their money faster, even if it violates the FDCPA.
Misrepresentation vs. harassment
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau discusses misrepresentation among debt collectors. This is a violation of the FDCPA, but some debt collectors still engage in it anyway in the hope that their target will not realize that they are acting against the law.
Misrepresentation differs from harassment in several ways. First of all, it is often harder for a victim to tell that something is wrong. Harassment usually involves direct targeting and even threats, which are not easy to misinterpret.
On the other hand, misrepresentation focuses on presenting information in an untrue light or with heavy bias and twists in an attempt to get the reaction that they want.
For example, a debt collector may create a false sense of urgency by misrepresenting the amount of money that you owe. By inflating the amount owed, you may feel more pressured into paying even if you do not have the money on hand.
Leveraging lies as threats
Another common tactic includes pretending that a member of the agency is a lawyer or a law enforcement officer. They may do this to try to intimidate you by threatening you with legal action, eviction and so on.
Fortunately, you can take steps to protect yourself from this if you believe it is happening to you.