What to Do If Debt Collectors Contact Your Family Members

Contact from debt collectors can be overwhelming and intimidating, especially if they do illegal things like threaten lawsuits or wage garnishment. When you receive calls and letters from debt collectors, it can be difficult to tell which actions are legal and which are not. 

A debt collector contacting friends or family about your debt is likely the last thing that you want. Debt collectors often contact relatives, neighbors, coworkers, or friends and tell them details about your debt, such as payment history and amounts owed. If collectors have contacted another person about your debt, here’s what you can do. 

Gather Details about the Debt Collector

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits third party contact without your consent.

If someone else is contacted about your debt, ask that they write down details about the conversation. Your relative or friend should write a statement detailing the contact that includes the date, time of day, name of caller, phone number where the call was received, and any details of the phone conversation. They should document each time that they are contacted. 

See a sample letter here.

Get Familiar with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

If a debt collector is contacting a third party about your debt, they may be in violation of other FDCPA guidelines too. Review common violations of the FDCPA to determine if they are using tactics that are not legal. You have rights, even if you owe the debt, and you can take action against unfair practices and stop debt collector harassment. 

Contact a Debt Collection Attorney

Get in touch with a debt collection lawyer to discuss possible legal action. Provide the third party statement and any other evidence of illegal debt collection practices. You have rights, and your debt does not give collectors a free pass to use whatever tactics they please in order to intimidate you.