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Table of Contents

The Basics

What is a debt collector?

Why is a debt collector trying to contact me?

What is an original creditor and what is the difference between an original creditor and a debt collector?

Does a debt collector have to verify for me how much I owe? When?

What is a garnishment?

What is a paid collection?

What is a judgement?

What information does a debt collector have to give me about the debt?

Why is the name of the debt collector different than the name of the company I owe money to?

What is a statute of limitations?

What does a debt collector need to verify that I owe the debt?

What can I do if I believe a debt collector has violated the law?

What Can/Can’t Debt Collectors Do?

Are there laws that limit what debt collectors can say or do?

What constitutes harassment by a debt collector?

Can a debt collector call me if I am listed on the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry?

Does a creditor have to inform you of the debt before turning it over to collections?

Is there a limit to how many times a debt collector can call me?

Can debt collectors call me anytime they want, day or night, about my debt?

What constitutes an "unfair" practice by a debt collector?

What if I have an attorney? Can a debt collector keep calling me?

Can my account be referred to a collection agency before my debt is due?

Can a collection agency try to have me arrested over a debt collection?

Can a debt collector increase the interest rate on a debt I owe?

If I tell a debt collector to stop contacting me, can it still report my debt to the credit reporting bureaus?

My debt is several years old. Can debt collectors still collect?

Can a debt collector try to collect on a debt that was discharged in bankruptcy?

If I dispute a debt that is being collected, can a debt collector still try to collect the debt from me?

Can a debt collector try to deceive me to collect on a debt?

Can debt collectors tell other people about my debt?

Can debt collectors call my employer and tell them they are calling about my debts?

Can a debt collector garnish my bank account or my wages?

Can a creditor or debt collector sue me if I am making regular payments, but not paying the full amount or not paying on time?

Can my federal benefits be garnished?

Can a debt collector put a lien on my house if I am not paying my debt?

I am divorced and getting calls about a credit card that is no longer my responsibility under our divorce decree. Can a debt collector try to collect this debt from me?. 23

My Rights, and Communicating with Debt Collectors

How can I verify whether or not a debt collector is legitimate?

I’ve been contacted by a debt collector and need help responding. How do I reply?

What is the best way to negotiate a settlement with a debt collector?

What should I do if a creditor or debt collector sues me?

A debt collector called my employer looking for me. What can I do?

How do I get a debt collector to stop calling me if it's not my debt?

If a debt collector violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act while trying to collect a debt from me, does that mean I do not have to pay the debt?. 29

What may happen if I ignore or avoid a debt collector?

What if I believe I do not owe the debt or I want proof of the debt?

What if I have already paid the debt?

I have been sued over a debt that I think is past the statute of limitations in my state. Should I still go to court?

A debt collector has contacted me regarding multiple accounts currently in collections. Do I have any control over which debt my payments are applied to?

How can I stop debt collectors from contacting me?

Do I have a right to dispute the debt if a creditor or debt collector sues me?

How do I find an attorney to represent me in a lawsuit by a creditor or debt collector?

Will I have to pay an up-front fee to hire a lawyer to represent me in a suit involving a creditor or debt collector?

What questions should I ask before I hire an attorney to represent me?

Debt Collection and Student Loans

What are my options when dealing with a collection agency working for the U.S. Department of Education?

If I co-signed for a student loan and it has gone into default, what happens?

What are the main advantages of the rehabilitation option when dealing with a collection agency?

Is there a minimum payment required for rehabilitation?

What happens if I default on a private student loan?

What are my options when dealing with my private student lender's collection agency?

What are the main advantages of the federal loan consolidation option when dealing with a collection agency?

Debt Collection and the Military

My parent got a notice from a debt collector to pay a debt that I took out after joining the military. It’s already been paid in full and it was in my name only. Where can I get help to stop them from harassing my family?

I'm a servicemember and I'm being harassed by a debt collector about a debt that I do not think I owe. Should I just pay up to make the debt collector go away. What are my rights and where can I get help?

I'm getting called day and night by a debt collector who is threatening to call my military chain of command, too. What can I do about this?

I'm a servicemember and I’m being sued by a debt collector. What can I do if I can’t make it to court to defend myself or a default judgment is awarded to the debt collector because I didn’t show up to court?

A debt collector has told me it is going to have my security clearance revoked because of being delinquent on my credit card bill. Can they do that?

Can a debt collector call my military supervisor or Commander if I am delinquent in paying my credit card or other debt?

I am a few months behind in paying my credit card debt. A debt collector called and said that if I didn’t pay off my credit card debt in full he would have me prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Can he do this?

Debt Collection and the Deceased

If someone dies owing a debt, does the debt go away when they die?

I was an authorized user on my deceased relative’s credit card account. Am I liable to repay the debt?

Who is responsible to pay my wife’s credit card debt after she has passed away?

If I don't pay my deceased spouse's debts using my own funds, will it affect my credit?

My spouse died leaving debts. My relative is the executor of the estate. Can a debt collector contact me about the debt?

My spouse died leaving debts but no assets and we are not filing any probate papers. Can a debt collector contact me about the debts?

I am the executor/administrator of my deceased relative’s estate. Can a debt collector contact me about my deceased relative’s debts?

Am I responsible to pay off the debts of my deceased spouse?

A few days after my relative’s obituary appeared in the papers, I got a call from someone who said they were a debt collector and that my relative had owed money. They are telling me I have to pay and asking me for my bank account information so they can withdraw the funds. How do I know if this is a scam? What can I do?

I already told a debt collector who called about my deceased relative to talk to the executor or administrator of the estate, but they keep calling me at all hours of the day and night and leaving threatening messages. What can I do?

Can a debt collector contact me about a deceased person’s debt when it was in that person's name only?

Even if I am the executor or administrator authorized to pay a deceased person's debt from his or her estate, can I stop a debt collector from contacting me about the debt?

Credit Counseling

What is credit counseling?

How do I find a credit counselor?

What's the difference between a credit counselor and a debt settlement company?

How do I choose which credit counselor is right for me?

Debt Settlement/Relief Services

Are all debt settlement services legitimate?

Should I use a debt settlement service to help me deal with my debt and debt collectors?

What are debt settlement/debt relief services?