What should I do when a debt collector contacts me?
There are different ways to respond appropriately to debt collectors. Depending on your situation, the FTC provides sample letters you can use if you're experiencing common problems.
When contacted, find out the following:
- Identity of the debt collector, including name, address, and phone number
- The amount of the debt, including any fees such as interest or collection costs
- What the debt is for and when the debt was incurred
- The name of the original creditor
- Information about whether you or someone else may owe the debt
When a debt collector first contacts you in writing regarding a debt, it must provide you a written notice that has certain, legally-required information. If the collection agency first contacts you by phone, insist that they contact you in writing. Do not give personal or financial information to the caller until you have confirmed it is a legitimate debt collector.