Can they arrest me for default on a payday loan?

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Can they arrest me for default on a payday loan?

I had a person call my daughter today and they left a message on her answering machine saying that I have criminal charges pending and that they need to talk with me. I called them back and I was told by this person that they are filing bad check and fraud charges against me for a payday loan that I thought had been paid already. They want $420 by tomorrow or this will be forewarded to the prosecuter.They have really scared me. Can they do this? I am not a criminal.

Asked on May 31, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Missouri

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that person who has borrowed money cannot be threatened with arrest for non-payment. In this day and age people don't go to jail for owing money; there is no longer any debtor's prison. The only exception would be if fraud was committed in obtaining the money, then that would be a crime. So, for example, if you scammed someone into lending money and you had no intention of repaying. Absent that, neither a debt collector or creditor may threaten you with criminal charges. If they do you could actually sue them. Additionally, they can not harass or otherwise intimidate you. It's the law - the "Fair Debt Collections Practices Act" (FDCPA).

Additionally, according to you, the sum borrowed has been paid back. So either this is some type of scam or there is legitimate confusion on your pay off. When this person calls back you need to speak with them yourself and explain things. If you feel that they are legitimate, then give them proof of your payment (i.e. a cancelled check, etc). If you do not feel comfortable with the person you are speaking to and feel that this is a scam of some sort, then do not offer to give them any of your banking information. If they continue to threaten you, tell themthat you are going to file a complaint against them under the FDCPA and/or tell them you are reporting them to the police. Then hang up.


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