As a Sheepshead Bay bankruptcy attorney, there are numerous instances where I have clients that do not want to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in the area. Instead, they have one or two unpaid bills that are now in the hands of collection firms like Rubin & Rothman, Pressler & Pressler, Cohen & Slamowitz and others.
Here’s the constant problem that they have: they get these absurdly harrassing phone calls from these companies, the client gets scared, and ultimately they give up a crucial piece of information, like a social security number or a bank account number.
At that point, good luck.
If you’ve been in this situation, you know what comes next. Almost immediately, these collection firms will freeze these accounts. The only way to get your money out of that account is to file an Order to Show Cause with the local court, filing for bankruptcy, or agreeing to a settlement (sometimes this doesn’t even work).
So what’s my advice? First, you should never, ever disclose any personal information to these collection firms, unless and until you speak to an attorney. Furthermore, you shouldn’t ever give up this information unless you’re provided with written proof of the validation of the debt from the collection firm. How do you know that they own this debt and can go after you for this money? How do you know that the amount they claim you owe for some unpaid debt is accurate?
The answer is, you don’t.
Not until they prove it to you, on paper, and in a legally acceptable fashion. Do not believe what these collectors tell you on the phone when it comes to outlandish claims that they will get you fired, put in jail, or punished in some other ways. You have a slew of state and federal laws that are specifically made to help consumers when they deal with credit collectors. The Federal Trade Commission has even put together a rather handy consumer guide to know your rights concerning debt collectors.
Make sure you’re aware of those and do not become another statistic. Do not become someone who has had their account frozen, money garnished, or worse, because you were intimidated by these individuals. There are simple legal ways to fight back and ensure that what you’re doing is correct.
Daniel Gershburg Esq., is a real estate and bankruptcy attorney with offices in Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan. The practice was specifically set up to change the way people view attorneys, by incorporating radical ideas like calling people back quickly, returning emails, giving clients ’round the clock access to their cases and charging low fees. For more information please visit Brooklyn Real Estate Attorney Daniel Gershburg’s website.