The short answer is, yes, debt collectors can call third parties like relatives or friends. But the law limits what they can say. They're really only supposed to call third parties if they can't reach you or don't have your contact information.
Debt collectors use a process called "skip tracing" to get phone numbers and other contact information for people who owe debts. 2 They locate people who know you and get as much information as they can about you.
The law protects people — including family members — from debt collectors who use abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to try to collect a debt. Collectors can also contact any other person with the power to pay debts with assets from the deceased person's estate.
Debt collectors usually can't contact people you know more than once and they can't say they're trying to collect on a debt. Generally, a debt collector can't discuss your debt with anyone other than: You. ... Your attorney, if you are represented with respect to the debt.
Debt collectors cannot harass or abuse you. They cannot swear, threaten to illegally harm you or your property, threaten you with illegal actions, or falsely threaten you with actions they do not intend to take. They also cannot make repeated calls over a short period to annoy or harass you.
The phone call from a debt collector never comes at a good time—but the best response is to confront the state of these affairs head-on. You may want to hide or ignore the situation and hope it goes away–but that can make things worse. Depending on your personal situation, there may be different steps to take.
Federal law doesn't give a specific limit on the number of calls a debt collector can place to you. A debt collector may not call you repeatedly or continuously intending to annoy, abuse, or harass you or others who share the number.
Debt collectors are not permitted to contact you or your spouse if you notify them in writing that you want them to cease communications. A debt collector that fails to cease communications after written notification is in violation of federal law.
When debt collectors want to find contact information for a debtor, they use a method called “skip-tracing.” This involves calling anyone who might have information about the debtor's whereabouts. Usually, debt collection agents use websites like Spokeo to find the names and numbers of potential informants.
There are a variety of reasons why a debt collector might call your family. But the most common reason is that they have not been able to get in touch with you. Sometimes a debt collector may believe that contacting your family will push you to pay off the debt.
You typically can't inherit debt from your parents unless you co-signed for the debt or applied for credit together with the person who died.
Right to know the debt collector or debt collection agency
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are required to identify themselves when they attempt to collect a debt as well as note that any information you give them will be used in an attempt to collect the debt.
In most cases, an individual's debt isn't inherited by their spouse or family members. Instead, the deceased person's estate will typically settle their outstanding debts. In other words, the assets they held at the time of their death will go toward paying off what they owed when they passed.
The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from calling you repeatedly, using profane language, making threats, or otherwise harassing you. If a debt collector is constantly calling you and causing you stress, sending a cease and desist letter can stop the collector from harassing you.
Unpaid credit card debt will drop off an individual's credit report after 7 years, meaning late payments associated with the unpaid debt will no longer affect the person's credit score. ... After that, a creditor can still sue, but the case will be thrown out if you indicate that the debt is time-barred.
With nothing more than a name, collectors can use public records and other resources to find information such as phone numbers, current and past addresses, and family contacts.
A creditor can merely review your past checks or bank drafts to obtain the name of your bank and serve the garnishment order. If a creditor knows where you live, it may also call the banks in your area seeking information about you.
In California, the statute of limitations on most debts is four years. With some limited exceptions, creditors and debt buyers can't sue to collect debt that is more than four years old.
In most cases, the statute of limitations for a debt will have passed after 10 years. This means a debt collector may still attempt to pursue it (and you technically do still owe it), but they can't typically take legal action against you.
If you have received or are receiving three or more collection calls in a single day from the same creditor or debt collector, please give us a call for a no cost case evaluation. We assist consumers is San Diego, Los Angeles, and throughout California.
When will a debt collector sue? Typically, debt collectors will only pursue legal action when the amount owed is in excess of $5,000, but they can sue for less.
As of Late 2021, Federal Law Limits Debt Collector Calls
The collector calls more than seven times within seven consecutive days. The collector calls within seven consecutive days of having had a telephone conversation about the debt.
Also, debt collectors can't call you numerous times a day. Doing so is considered a form of harassment by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and is explicitly not allowed.