Wesley Howard
Amber and Company Real Estate

How to Deal with Debt Collectors

A debt validation letter is what a debt collector sends you to prove that you owe them money. This letter shows you the details of a specific debt, outlines what you owe, who you owe it to, and when they need you to pay.

A debt dispute letter demands that the collection agency demonstrate that you do indeed owe the debt and can provide detailed information and documents to prove the amount owed. Federal law says that after receiving written notice of a debt, consumers have a 30-day window to respond with a debt dispute letter


3 Things You Should NEVER Say To A Debt Collector

In your process of dealing with debt collectors, it’s also very important to keep a note of what you should not share with them. Here are 3 things you should never reveal to a debt collector:


  1. Never Give Them Your Personal Information

A call from a debt collection agency will include a series of questions.


The agent will ask for personal information to confirm your identity and your ownership of the debt.


You don’t have to answer these questions. Instead, ask the agent to communicate with you only in writing.


Here are a few more personal things you shouldn’t provide to debt collectors:


Additional Phone Numbers (other than what they already have)

Email Addresses

Mailing Address (unless you intend on coming to a payment agreement)

Employer or Past Employers

Family Information (ex. spouse’s employer or phone number)

Bank Account Information

Credit Card Number

Social Security Number

  1. Never Admit That The Debt Is Yours

Even if the debt is yours, don’t admit that to the debt collector.


There is no reason to do this, and it could get you in trouble later on if you try to dispute the debt on your credit report as inaccurate.


Many times old debts have fraudulent interest charges that you aren’t obliged to pay, but debt collectors will attempt to collect anyway.


Again, it’s best to tell the collection agent to send you the information in writing and then hang up. You have the right to do this, and we’ll talk about that in a minute.


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  1. Never Provide Bank Account Information

A debt collector will try to convince you to make a payment, even a small payment, while you’re on the phone. The agent will need your bank account or credit card number to make the transaction. It might seem like a quick and easy way to end the conversation and get off the phone. But this can cause a few big problems:


You Lose Leverage: Your payment is your leverage for dealing with debt collectors later. So don’t make a payment prematurely and give away your best bargaining chip. Save it for later when you can get something in return such as asking the creditor to remove negative items from your credit report in exchange for a payment.

You Share Account Details: The agent may say he or she will not store your bank account or credit card number. But you have no way of knowing whether this is true. Debt collectors have also charged more than you agreed to pay.

You Reset the Statute of Limitations: By making a payment you reset the statute of limitations on the debt. This gives the creditor more time to sue you for losses later.

If you want to pay off the debt or enter a payment plan, that’s OK, especially if payment is part of your broader debt management plan. But get an agreement in writing first.


What Debt Collectors can’t do

We’ve covered some of the tactics that debt collectors might use to pressure you in to paying debt. It’s important to know how to handle these pressure tactics but it’s also important to understand that a lot of these are actually prohibited under the FDCPA. You can feel secure about pushing back because as the FTC states:


“Debt collectors may contact you only between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.”

“Debt collectors may not contact you at work if they know your employer disapproves.”

“Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you.”

“Debt collectors may not lie when collecting debts, such as falsely implying that you have committed a crime.”

“Debt collectors must identify themselves to you on the phone.”

“Debt collectors must stop contacting you if you ask them to do so in writing.”

Knowing this might provide some peace of mind while navigating such an unpleasant and stressful situation. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act can protect you, so it pays to know your rights. It’s thanks to pieces of legislation such as the FDCPA that abusive debt collection agencies such as The Regional Adjustment Bureau have had to face the legal consequences of their federal law violations.

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When Dealing with Debt Collectors, Your Basic Needs Come First

As a general rule, you should never pay a debt collector if it puts your ability to pay for necessities in jeopardy. Always make sure your rent/mortgage, groceries, utilities, and other necessities are paid before you pay off an old debt.


It’s simply not as important, regardless of what a debt collector might have you believe.