Debt collectors are using some new high-tech tactics to collect and track down consumers. New software is allowing debt collectors to insert voicemails into phones by the thousands without a single ring, bypassing regulations that restrict how often they can call consumers.
Companies such as Stratics Networks maintain that because no phone calls are made, regulations prohibiting auto-dialed collection calls do not apply. But consumer protection attorneys disagree, arguing that just because the phone does not ring, does not mean it’s not a call. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act forbids debt collectors from harassing consumers.
Animated cartoon characters show up in borrowers’ inboxes and smooth-talk borrowers into paying up. Collections managers design personalities of avatars, who speak multiple languages and weigh debtors’ credit scores when negotiating payment.
Advanced language-recognition programs not only track keywords during a conversation but identify the emotion of the borrower. Cursing out a debt collector? Prompts generated by CallMiner Inc. software help steer conversations back on track.
Supervisors using the speech-analytics company’s system see color-coded boxes on call-center computer monitors. Small green boxes represent routine conversations. During those calls, agents are reminded to recite mandatory “mini-Miranda” statements that inform consumers of their rights. But a box turns red and expands when a call contains expletives or long silences.
Skip Tracing, Spoofing and Scrubbing
In a practice called skip tracing, collection agencies search databases to find borrowers who have skipped out on paying their debts. Some collectors track debtors on Facebook and other social media sites. A Texas agency is linking Social Security numbers to social media accounts, raising privacy concerns. Another tactic known as spoofing, debt collectors insert local area codes in caller-ID displays, enticing the person being called to answer the phone. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing to ban the practice.
Click here to read more on this story.
If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.