Creditor Harassment and the Rise of AI

Debt collector tactics are bad enough as it is. But now with the rise of new technology, they might have more access to you than ever. So is AI making creditor harassment worse or better? And how do new algorithms change creditor behavior?

Recent reports show a number of ways debt collection agencies are using artificial intelligence (AI) to collect on debts more efficiently. These tactics do seem to help the debt collectors’ bottom line. But as a Memphis bankruptcy attorney, I’m most concerned with how they impact the everyday debtor struggling to get by.

The Rise of AI in Debt Collection

Debt collection agencies are praising new systems that help them collect debt faster and more effectively than ever before.

In particular, they’ve been focused on something called “machine learning.” With machine learning, you use data and algorithms to train systems in the same way humans learn. Over time, the machine improves in its accuracy.

Here are a few ways you might see this in real life:

How and When Creditors Contact You

By training machines to understand how and when people answer their phones, creditors can cut down on the amount of missed or unanswered phone calls. The same goes for text messages, social media messages, etc. If creditors know the easiest and most effective way to reach you, it could cut down on their bottom line, because they won’t waste staff time and resources on hours when people don’t pick up.

Credit companies also claim it makes things more comfortable for you. But in reality, you might pick up the phone more often during work hours or around the time of school pick-up because the stakes matter more.

In those situations, you need your phone free for your colleagues or loved ones. Just because you’re more responsive to the people you actually want to hear from doesn’t mean you want to be picking up creditor calls.

Whether They Contact You At All

AI is also helping creditors determine who is most likely to pay them back. It does this by scanning your credit history, payment history, the type of debt, when it was incurred, etc. It then compares this data to the data of all other debtors and sends that information to your creditors.

They use this information to determine which debtors are the biggest priority (a.k.a., where they should go to get the most money the soonest).

How to Manipulate You to Get the Most Money from You

Perhaps most alarmingly, creditors are using artificial intelligence to read your reactions in real time and determine how the creditor should speak with you. The system analyzes “consumers’ tone, context, and sentiment during conversations and provides agents with suggestions on the best ways to handle the engagement.”

Most people would find this wording pretty creepy. And it’s especially scary when you realize a machine might be telling your creditor to speak more harshly with you based on the sound of your voice.

Who Does AI Benefit in Debt Collection?

Debt collectors seem happy about the rise in AI in their profession because it helps them so much. But it’s hard to see how it makes life that much easier for someone in debt.

Sure, this technology may make it possible for creditors to avoid calling at dinnertime. But it remains to be seen whether they abide by that finding. And they certainly won’t, if their algorithm says you’re more likely to pick up around dinnertime.

If AI decreased creditor harassment, most debtors would welcome it. But those same debtors should remain skeptical. The technology as it stands benefits the creditor.

After all, people facing bankruptcy don’t have a special machine on their phone telling them how to speak nicely to the creditor to get them to go away. Only the creditors get that.

How to Stop Creditor Harassment from Getting Worse

If you’re struggling with debt you can’t pay and are dealing with annoying creditors, we can help. We’ve written a free report called Creditors Can’t Do That to help you navigate the system.

You should never feel threatened, abused, or scared by a conversation with a debt collector. They are obligated to treat you with respect and humanity. Our free report can help you figure out your rights and understand what to do if they violate the rules.

But sometimes the debt is simply too big to pay back, and the creditors won’t go away. In that situation, you may not have all the technology on your side, but fortunately you do have the entire legal system.

Our Memphis bankruptcy attorneys work with the courts to help you get out of debt completely and get a fresh start. You can have a life free of creditor harassment, fear of wage garnishment, or fear of losing the things you care about the most.

We offer a free consultation, no strings attached. And we can answer any of your questions, including how to deal with even the worst creditors. And after you file? They have to come through us.

To get started, contact us online today or give us a call at 901-327-2100.