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Credit Federal
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Can Debt Collectors Put Me In Jail
By Credit Federal | Published 10/9/2008
One question often received is: Can debt collectors put me in jail for not paying my bill?

If you need help, consider credit counseling, professional debt negotiation or do-it-yourself free debt settlement.

Truth: Debt collectors cannot put you in jail for not paying your bill. But that doesn't stop debt collectors from trying all sorts of underhanded tactics to get you to pay.

There are no 'debtor prisons', and being in debt is not a crime. You cannot go to jail just because you didn't repay a bank loan or a hospital bill. Any debt collector that tells you otherwise is lying and is violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a federal law that governs debt collectors.

If a debt collector threatens to put you in jail, report them to the Federal Trade Commission and your state's attorney general. You can also sue the collector in federal or state court for damages, plus up to $1,000.00 and court costs.

What debt actions can you get put in jail for?
  • Purposely not paying your taxes
  • Commiting fraud, including taking out loans you never intend to repay
  • Violating a court order, such as failing to pay court ordered child support
  • Trying to hide assets to avoid paying a judgment

More helpful information:
Unknown Debt Collection Agency
Statute of Limitations Debt Collection Act
Collection Agency Harassment
Debt Collection Agency Negotiation
Bill Collector Bad Debt Collection
Collection Agency Rules and How to Respond to Harassment


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