How do I get a debt collector to stop calling me if it's not my debt?
You have the right to tell a debt collector to stop communicating with you. Write a letter to the debt collector and keep a copy of the letter yourself.
Tip: The CFPB has prepared sample letters that you can use to respond to a debt collector who is trying to collect a debt from the wrong person as well as tips on how to use them. The sample letters may help you to get information, set ground rules about any further communication, or protect some of your rights.
Once a debt collector receives your letter, it may not contact you again except to:
- Tell you there will be no further contact
- Advise you that it or the creditor may take other specific actions it is legally allowed to take, such as a lawsuit against you
You can also tell the debt collector that you do not believe the debt is yours. If you have evidence that the debt isn’t yours, you might choose to send copies of that information with the letter.
Tip: Keep a copy of your letter for your records.
It’s generally a good idea to send the letter by certified mail and purchase a return receipt so you have proof it was received (keep this in your records, too). You may also send the letter by fax, just be sure to keep a copy of the fax receipt.
It is against the law for a debt collector to use unfair, deceptive or abusive practices in an attempt to collect debt from you.
Tip: Don’t ignore debt collectors.
Ignoring or avoiding a debt collector is unlikely to make the collector stop contacting you or trying to collect the debt. If you believe you do not owe the debt, or that the debt is not yours, you should tell the debt collector. Even if the debt is yours, you still have the right not to talk to the debt collector and you can tell the debt collector to stop calling you. However, telling a debt collector to stop contacting you does not stop the debt collector or creditor from using other legal ways to collect the debt from you if you owe it, including filing a lawsuit against you or reporting negative information to a credit reporting company.
If the debt collector continues contacting you after receiving a written notice to stop, or is harassing or abusive, it may be violating the law.
Tip: If you're having trouble with debt collection, you can submit a complaint with the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).