There are plenty of options for you to get out of debt. However, when you are making that decision, it is important that you don’t allow any external agency to influence you. They can harass, stress you out and push you to make a hasty decision, which you might regret later. The easiest way to stress out a debtor is to constantly call up him/her up. Maybe you’ve experienced this type of harassment from a collection agency. Don’t expect these calls to be pleasant. The person speaking over the phone is a pro at using the right words to trigger panic, tense you up and they will not stop until the debt is paid back. The best option for you is to avoid talking to collection agencies. You should speak and inform them of your financial payback plans, but it should be at a time of your choosing. At the same time, you should work on a plan to pay back the debt.
Avoiding a collection agency call is not rocket science or a 007 strategy, but a little bit of creativity will help. You want to avoid their calls, until a point where you are ready to discuss about paying back the debt.
1. Screen the Incoming Calls
Usually a call from a collection agency will show up as an unknown number on your caller id. However, these days there are a growing number of agencies that are calling from a 780 number. Once you are aware of the collection agency’s number, you can put a block on it.
If you do pick up an unknown call and the person over the phone is asking for you, then it’s time to make use of your acting talents. Pretend that you’re someone else and let them know you will pass on their message to the debtor. If you don’t know how to act, don’t worry about it, collection agencies can’t make out the difference over the phone – just try it out!
During off hours when you don’t pick up your phone, take a look at your voice mail to find out who they are. Then put the collection agency’s number in the “Do not answer” mode.
2. Either keep your phone number confidential or get a new one
Choosing to change your number can be difficult, especially if you’ve been using that number for a very long time. You could easily change the number and keep it confidential. Let your family members and friends know that they shouldn’t disclose your personal information to anyone. Avoid using your name in your voicemail. Don’t give out your phone number on social media sites or even when filling up any application which updates the credit information. Even if you call them, make sure that you call from a different number; use a pay phone if you have to.
3. Don’t give away your name over the phone
Collection agencies cannot disclose information regarding debt to a third party. Hence they can’t talk to anyone over phone until they confirm it is you who is the debtor. You can take advantage of this and avoid them. You are under no obligation to provide any information to anybody on the phone. We recently had an example of a collection agency calling one of our clients by pretending to be a recruiter. If that happens, you have every right to end the call.
These three points are all temporary measures to keep collection agencies at bay. There is only so much you can do against the tactics collection agencies employ to find out about you. To give you an example, I had a couple of collection agencies calling to ask me for a last name similar to mine, but the first name was different. My last name is unique and there are not many in Canada.
The tricks in a collection agency’s arsenal are vast. Be on your guard!