Can Debt Collectors Take Your Stimulus Check?
Have you ever received a letter from a debt collector asking for an old credit card balance payment? If you have, you probably considered paying them. If you have outstanding debt, maybe you should consider investing it instead. If your tax refund or stimulus check is being garnished, you want to know how to deal with the problem. You can do things manually or use an app like DoNotPay to help prevent debt collectors from taking your money.
What Is the FDCPA?
The FDCPA provides consumers with protection from debt collectors. It's a complicated and extensive federal law, and you need to know how you can use it to protect yourself.
FDCPA protects against predatory debt collector harassment. It's enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and contains guidelines for how debt collectors can communicate with consumers.
Here's an overview of what FDCPA covers:
- Debt collectors cannot harass you with calls before 8 am or after 9 pm in your time zone.
- Debt collectors have to disclose that they are calling as debt collectors when they first contact you.
- Debt collectors can't harass, abuse, or threaten you in any way, whether that means using obscene language, making repeated calls, or revealing your debts to your friends and family.
- Debt collectors can only collect money for the debt you owe and are not allowed to harass you into paying additional fees or interest charges (unless those additional fees were part of your original contract).
- Debt collectors are required to honor written requests for proof of the debt. So if a debt collector contacts you but refuses to provide proof of the debt when asked, it's likely that they do not have the legal right to collect on it.
These are the basic things that the FDCPA covers, but there are issues when it comes to things like stimulus checks and tax returns. This is why it is important to have a service like DoNotPay on your side to ensure you get to keep your money.
FDCPA Violations and Your Stimulus Check
FDCPA violations are serious, and if you're dealing with one, you should take it seriously as well.
Debt collectors may be third-party companies or original creditors who have decided to pursue debt collection themselves; either way, they must follow the law.
The FDCPA contains many different rules that apply to debt collectors, but the most important ones from the perspective of your stimulus check are:
- A debt collector must send you a letter notifying you of the existence of debt within five days of first contacting you.
- A debt collector cannot contact you before 8 am or after 9 pm unless you've agreed otherwise.
- A debt collector cannot contact you at work if your employer doesn't allow it.
- A debt collector cannot threaten arrest or legal action if they don't actually intend to do it.
- A debt collector cannot lie about how much money you owe or threaten to garnish your wages if they can't legally do so in your state.
These are some of the things that you should consider when debt collectors are attacking you.
Who to Write About FDCPA Violations
When you have a problem with your stimulus check being garnished from your bank account, you need to report the violations. The Federal Trade Commission where complaints need to be filed and the contact info for the FTC is:
|Mailing Address||Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580 United States
|Phone Number||1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357)|
|Email or Contact Formfirstname.lastname@example.org|
The address on official letters should be careful of Office of Policy and Coordination Room CC-5422. Alternatively, you can use the DoNotPay AI chatbot to file the complaints and other paperwork for you.
How Do You Deal With Creditors Garnishing Your Stimulus Check?
If you owe money to a creditor, they can try and collect that debt from you even if you're receiving stimulus payments. If you think your creditor is trying to collect your stimulus check, DoNotPay can help.
Let's take a look at how creditors can take your stimulus checks and what you can do to protect yourself.
How Can You Protect Your Stimulus Check
If your creditors are trying to garnish your stimulus checks, there are several things you can do:
- Check the interest rate on your debt
- Check the date of your last payment on the debt
- See if the statute of limitations on the debt has expired
- Argue that the debt is not yours
- File for bankruptcy if your debts are piling up
These are some of the things that can be done to deal with a creditor trying to take your stimulus money. Some of these tasks can be difficult, which is why you have the DoNotPay robot service to help.
Using DoNotPay to Dispute Claims Against Stimulus Money
The CARES Act protects stimulus checks from being garnished by debt collectors. That hasn't stopped some collectors from trying to get their hands on at least a portion of the money.
You can stop debt collectors from taking your stimulus check with DoNotPay.
Here's how it works:
- Search “debt collection” on DoNotPay.
- Answer a series of questions about the debt collectors, including when you were contacted and how you were contacted, so we can determine if they have violated any debt collection laws.
- Decide which course of action you want to take based on our guidance, such as filing a debt verification request, demanding for the collectors to stop contacting you, or reporting them to the CFPB.
Using DoNotPay to dispute claims against your stimulus check is quick and easy. It will help you keep the money you need in your bank account to pay for things that it was meant for.