How Do Debt Collectors Get Friends Phone Numbers?

A debt collector may have obtained your phone number from a neighbor, acquaintance, family member, employer, spouse, ex-spouse, or someone else who knows you. To obtain phone numbers and other contact information for persons who owe money, debt collectors utilize a method known as “skip tracing.”

Can a debt collector contact my friends?

Dodging a debt collector isn’t prohibited when you have a past-due bill. You can block calls, conceal, and take other measures to avoid communicating with the debt collector. Of course, as long as the collector follows the letter of the law, he or she has the right to collect.

Is it legal for a debt collector to contact a family member, a friend, or even a neighbor to collect a delinquent bill?

They have the right to seek you down, and you have the right to hide… but there are some limitations to what they can say during that conversation.

Contact versus conversation

A collector can call everyone they can find to verify your identify under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Basically, a collector gets your information from a creditor who hasn’t received payment from you — they’ve never met you.

Fact: The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was passed in 1996 to update the Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1968.

As a result, most collection practices begin with a phone call to establish your identify. So they begin to call. If they can’t reach you, they start calling other people to at least get through the first phase of verification. That way, they don’t waste time attempting to contact someone who isn’t actually responsible for the debt (and it’s also an excellent method to get you to answer their calls yourself).

But that’s all they’re capable of. They have no way of knowing who you owe, how much you owe, or how far past due your obligation is to the person on the other end of the line. The call must cease as soon as they have verified your identity and contact details. If it doesn’t, you can file a harassment complaint against the collector.

Why are debt collectors calling my friends?

Debt collectors are permitted by law to contact your friends or family in an attempt to locate you. However, they are not permitted to contact these individuals in an attempt to collect the debt, and they are only permitted to contact them once unless they believe fresh information may be available. This, however, necessitates the individual answering and informing the collector that they are not the debtor.

You can tell the collector if the collector is calling about a friend or family member who has died away. If you have such information, you can also direct them to the estate executor, but you don’t have to.

File a Complaint With the FTC

While the FDCPA spells out a lot of what a debt collector can and can’t do, not all debt collectors adhere to the guidelines. If the collector has been advised that you are not the debtor and they continue to phone, you may need to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and maybe your state attorney general’s office to get them to stop.

Get Legal Help

While reporting the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorney General’s Office is normally the last resort, extreme instances may necessitate legal action. If you’re unsure if you have legal basis for a harassment claim or can’t get the calls to stop, speaking with a consumer law attorney may be beneficial.

Avoid Common Mistakes

Never offer your personal information to a debt collector. Scammers may act as debt collectors, and providing them with this information might lead to crimes such as identity theft or credit card fraud. It’s also a bad idea to lose your cool or become enraged. These phone calls might be aggravating. However, bear in mind that the person on the other end of the line is only trying to perform their job, and losing your cool isn’t going to help.

Can a debt collector talk to anyone else about my debt?

Debt collectors are limited in what they can say or inquire about you. In most cases, a debt collector can only contact other people to find out:

Debt collectors aren’t allowed to contact you more than once, and they can’t claim to be trying to collect a debt. A debt collector is generally prohibited from discussing your debt with anyone other than:

If the debt collector is aware that you are being represented by an attorney over the debt, the debt collector must contact the attorney rather than you. If your attorney fails to respond to the collector within a reasonable time or if your attorney agrees to the collector’s communication, the debt collector may contact you.

Tip: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has created sample letters that a consumer can use to respond to a debt collector attempting to recover a debt. The letters come with instructions on how to utilize them. The sample letters may assist you in obtaining information, establishing boundaries or stopping further communication, or exercising some of your rights.

  • If your company forbids you from receiving personal calls at work, you should inform the debt collector.
  • If a debt collector knows that you are not permitted to receive calls from them at work, the debt collector is not permitted to call you there.
  • If a debt collector contacts your place of business, you should speak with the person who answered the phone to find out what the debt collector said. A debt collector is not allowed to inform your employer that you owe money. If a debt collector has informed your employer that you owe a bill, you should see an attorney to learn more about your options.

If you’re encountering problems with debt collection, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).

How do debt collectors find your family?

To begin, any California resident who receives a call from a debt collector looking for a relative should not assume that the relative handed out their phone number. Debt collectors employ a technique known as “skip-tracing” to locate a debtor’s contact information. This entails contacting anyone with knowledge regarding the debtor’s location. Debt collectors typically utilize websites like Spokeo to track down the names and phone numbers of possible informants.

Debt collectors are increasingly turning to social media pages for information on borrowers’ relatives and friends. Unless Californians utilize stringent privacy restrictions on their social media accounts, a lot of their personal information is visible to anyone who wishes to look. Reset your privacy controls if you wish to lessen your chances of receiving unsolicited phone calls. You can restrict access to certain information to friends and followers. As an added advantage, this deters identity thieves from gathering your information in order to perpetrate fraud against you.

What Debt Collectors Can and Cannot Ask California Consumers When Calling About a Relative

When a debt collector calls a California resident about a relative’s debt, they have the right to inquire about their whereabouts and how to contact them. That is all there is to it. Period. Debt collectors are not allowed to discuss the real debt unless the debtor expressly authorizes it. Debt collection agents aren’t even allowed to identify your relative as a debtor under the FDCPA.

If a debt collector contacts you in the aim of obtaining information about a family member, keep this in mind. Consumers in California should also be aware that debt collectors are not allowed to contact third parties repeatedly. Instead, each person receives a single phone call. Furthermore, debt collectors are not permitted to threaten or use abusive language with any consumer they contact. Debt collectors may not berate, abuse, or degrade you if you wish to withhold information.

It is totally up to you what you tell the debt collector (if anything at all). You can also take legal action against an agent if you believe they have broken the FDCPA.

Stop Debt Collector Harassment in California

Let’s get started on what we can do to improve your credit. Call Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (855) 956-2089 or send him a note through our contact page to schedule your free consultation.

Do debt collectors call from unknown numbers?

According to my understanding of current court law and laws, it is perfectly legitimate for debt collectors to block their phone numbers.

The court stated in Glover v. Client Services 2007 WL 2902209 that a collector might phone a blocked number.

In sum, the Court finds that simply “blocking” a telephone number, as alleged in this case, cannot be considered unfair or unconscionable under the FDCPA as a matter of law, given the admittedly non-exclusive examples of “unfair” or “unconscionable” conduct identified in the statute, as well as the purposes underlying Congress’ passage of the FDCPA.

Collectors do it because it’s not illegal, and it’s more frightening to get a call from a blocked number.

Should I answer debt collector calls?

What Should You Say If a Debt Collector Calls? A debt collector’s phone call seldom arrives at a convenient time, but the best answer is to tackle the situation head-on. You may want to hide or ignore the problem in the hopes that it will go away, but this will only make matters worse.

What is the 11 word phrase to stop debt collectors?

You may be afraid and stressed if you are being chased for a debt. Allowing all of the harassing calls from a debt collector to get to you is a bad idea. If you need to take a break from debt collectors, tell them to “please cease and desist all calls and contact with me, immediately.” If you’re approached by a debt collector, here’s what you should do.

If a debt collector reaches you, you have the option of not answering, but this is not a good option. Disregarding phone calls is one thing, but ignoring a summons is another. You should try to determine whether you owe the obligation and whether the statute of limitations is still in effect. The one thing you should never do is affirm that the debt is yours. In court, this could be used against you.

How often can debt collectors call?

The Fair Debt Collection Methods Act (FDCPA) was passed to protect borrowers from unfair and abusive debt collection practices. The FDCPA does not set a limit on how many times a debt collector can contact you. It does, however, place some limitations on how a debt collector can engage with you.

A debt collector is presumed to be in violation of federal law if it places telephone calls to a specific person in connection with the collection of a specific debt in either of the following circumstances, according to a final rule that takes effect in late 2021 and amends Regulation F, which implements the FDCPA.

  • The debt collector calls within seven days of speaking with you on the phone about the debt. The first day of the seven-day period is the date of the telephone discussion. (See 12 C.F.R. 1006.14)

This restriction applies to each individual loan, not to each individual customer. As a result, if you owe on multiple loans, a debt collector may contact you more frequently. There are three exceptions to this telephone call frequency limit:

  • Calls made to certain professionals, such as your lawyer. 12 CFR 1006.14(b)(3)

Who Has to Comply With the FDCPA?

The FDCPA primarily applies to debt collectors, which are defined as third parties who collect debts owing to another person or corporation. In other situations, however, a debt buyer may be required to follow the law, such as when purchasing a home.

How long can you legally be chased for a debt?

The statute of limitations is a law that establishes a time restriction for debt collectors to prosecute consumers for unpaid debt. The statute of limitations for debt varies by state and type of obligation, and can last anywhere from three to twenty years. To get you started, here’s a list of each state’s debt statute of limitations – but keep in mind that credit card companies frequently argue in court that the law in their home state (not yours) should apply.

What should you not say to debt collectors?

It’s also critical to keep track of what you shouldn’t discuss with debt collectors during the collection process. The following are three things you should never tell a debt collector:

Never Give Them Your Personal Information

The agent will request personal information in order to verify your identity and debt ownership.

You are not required to respond to these questions. Instead, request that the agent exclusively communicate with you by email.

Never Admit That The Debt Is Yours

There’s no reason to do this, and it could get you in hot water later if you try to dispute the amount as erroneous on your credit report.

Many old debts have bogus interest charges that you aren’t required to pay, but debt collectors will try to collect nevertheless.

It’s advisable to hang up after telling the collection agent to provide you the information in writing. You have the legal right to do so, and we’ll get to that in a moment.

Never Provide Bank Account Information

While you’re on the phone with a debt collector, they’ll try to persuade you to make a payment, even if it’s a tiny one. To complete the transaction, the agent will need your bank account or credit card details. It may appear to be a simple and quick way to end the call and get off the phone. However, this can lead to a number of serious issues:

  • You Lose Leverage: Your payment is your leverage when it comes to dealing with debt collectors in the future. So don’t pay too soon and lose your most valuable bargaining chip. Save it for a time when you can receive something in exchange, such as requesting that the creditor delete unfavorable items from your credit report in exchange for a payment.
  • You Share Account Information: The agent may claim that he or she will not keep your bank account or credit card information on file. You, on the other hand, have no way of knowing whether or not this is true. Additionally, debt collectors have charged you more than you committed to pay.
  • The Statute of Limitations on the Obligation is Reset: Making a payment resets the statute of limitations on the debt. This provides the creditor additional time to file a lawsuit against you for losses.

It’s fine if you wish to pay off the debt or sign a payment plan, especially if it’s part of a larger debt management strategy. But first, acquire a written agreement.

Is it legal for a debt collector to call your family?

A debt collector is prohibited by law from threatening or using physical force against you, a member of your family, or a third party related to you in order to collect your debt. They can, however, call a family member, a friend, or a third party to find out where you are.