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

There are federal protections to prohibit harassment or abusive communications by a debt collector. Ignoring or avoiding a debt collector, though, is unlikely to make the debt collector stop contacting you. They may find other ways to contact you, including filing a lawsuit.

While being contacted by a debt collector might feel overwhelming, talking with them can help you get more information about the debt. Ignoring or avoiding the debt collector is also unlikely to make them stop contacting you, and they may use other methods to try to collect the debt, including filing a lawsuit against you.

What to do when a debt collector contacts you

There’s certain information that debt collectors are generally required to provide to help you determine whether or not the debt is yours and to inform you how you can dispute the debt, if you don’t believe you owe it or the amount is incorrect. If they refuse to provide this information, it’s a warning sign that it may be a scam.

Learn more about what you should do if a debt collector contacts you

How to respond if a debt collector sues you

If you ignore a debt collector’s attempts to contact you and they file a lawsuit to collect the debt, it’s important to take it seriously. Not responding to a properly served lawsuit – even if you’re unsure whether you owe the debt – can result in the court issuing a judgment against you, which could limit your ability to dispute the debt, even if it’s already been paid or you don’t owe it.

Learn what to do if you’re sued by a debt collector