How do Credit Collectors Work?

If you are behind on your bills or you managed to find your way onto a debt collector’s call list, you may have noticed an increase in unknown phone numbers calling you constantly. Don’t be discouraged! Here are some tips and information to help you navigate these calls with better results.
So, who are debt collectors?

According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a debt collector is someone who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them.

Debt collectors can collect on a multitude of debts including personal, family, household, credit card, auto, medical, and mortgage, amongst others. The debt collectors are often part of larger companies that buy hundreds or even thousands of accounts in debt. From there, these collectors do their best to persuade, scare, and entice the owners of these debts to pay back the money they owe. You will notice the bulk of the contact being made in the first four months the debt is owed. After the four months threshold, the calls appear to dwindle slightly.

There are many restrictions debt collectors need to follow including not calling before 8AM or after 9PM. They also may not contact you at work if expressly told not to, either verbally or in writing. It is a slightly tricky process to stop debt collectors from contacting you entirely, but here are the steps to take:
You must write a letter to the debt collectors asking them to stop contacting you. Make a copy of the letter, and send a copy to the agency by certified mail. Attach a second letter for the agency to return, confirming that the letter was understood. Once that is complete, the collector may only contact you to let you know they received your letter or to take legal action.

Keep in mind, if a debt collector is harassing you by making threats of violence or using obscene language, you can take legal action against them. They also may not lie, misrepresent themselves, or misrepresent the amount you owe. Finally, they cannot threaten arrest or seizing wages and property. For a complete list of laws, visit the FTC website

If you wish to pay off your debts but are worried about working with a debt collector, you have options. Debt relief companies are a great alternative to eliminate your debt and often help save money in the process. For more information on that, visit

Debt collectors can be a scary prospect, but with the right information and the proper understanding of the law, you can be one step ahead and protect yourself from unwanted calls.

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