Debt collectors are subject to a strict code of conduct, prohibiting them from threatening or harassing debtors. Though attorneys who collect debt are not subject to the same code, it is nevertheless unethical for them to threaten debtors. "We may be conducting a financial trace on your bank account shortly. If we find that you are in a position to pay more, we may forcefully instruct your bank to deduct funds from your account. Contact our office now to increase or effect payment if you would like to avoid this," reads an SMS sent out by Pretoria-based debt-collecting attorneys Groenewald Lubbe. Advocate Andries Cornelius, the chief executive of the Council for Debt Collectors, says if this message had been sent by a debt collector, he or she would be prosecuted. "It is a breach of our code of conduct to misrepresent the truth to a consumer. You are also not allowed to threaten a course of action that you will not or cannot follow. No bank can deduct payments on any account without...

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