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What should you say to a debt collector who calls you?

If you have some type of past-due debt (and even if you don't), you could hear from a debt collector.

A phone call from a debt collector can catch you off guard, making it difficult to respond in the appropriate manner. Fortunately, when you have a plan for what you want to say, it's much easier to combat anything that comes your way.

Here are some tips:

  • Ask for more information: Before the conversation begins, ask for the person's name, company name, address and phone number. Also, request information pertaining to the debt, including the origin and how much you owe.
  • Don't admit to the debt: The debt collector will do everything in their power to get you to admit that you owe the money. Regardless of the circumstances, don't do this. It's not out of the question that a debt collector could make up a debt because they missed the statute of limitations.
  • Don't share information about your other bills, debts and income: This is the type of information the debt collector wants to gather. For example, if they know that you're earning a good living, they're more likely to pressure you. Any information you provide will be used to collect the debt, so don't share anything that you want to keep private.

Along with the above, keep in mind that you have legal rights and that they're protected by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. For example, debt collectors can't threaten you with physical or criminal action or call you at any time of the day.

Knowing your legal rights will help minimize the impact of debt collection activities on your personal life and finances.

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