Is it Legal for Creditors to Call Family Members?

Chloe Meltzer

February 08, 2021

Don't make your debt the topic of your family's conversation.

Summary: Being in debt is stressful. And you can feel even worse when your family finds our about your financial situation. Find out how to stop debt collectors from calling your family members.

Being in debt is not a fun process. When the debt collector starts calling, it can be even worse. Not only are debt collection calls annoying, but they can be stressful and embarrassing.

Although debt collectors are not legally allowed to call your family directly, they may accidentally make contact. Whether this is by picking up your phone or the home phone, or simply using other methods to reach you, they may speak to one of your family members. Despite this, if a debt collector is giving out too much information about your debt, they are violating the law.

How Debt Collectors Might Contact Your Family

If a debt collector has attempted to get a hold of you unsuccessfully, then the next step may be to use other methods. These methods can include contacting your family members in hopes to contact you.

Because so much information exists on the internet, it isn't difficult to contact your family members. Similar to how they locate your information, they will do the same to find that of your relatives. Especially if you once shared an address, such as that of your parents, partner, or siblings.

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It is Legal for a Debt Collector to Contact Your Family

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) has strict rules regarding what debt collectors are allowed to do as far as communication. Although it is not against the law for debt collectors to contact your family members, there are limits on what they can say.

It is good to note that debt collectors are only legally allowed to contact your relatives to locate you but not to collect money for your debt.

Typically, debt collectors are allowed to contact each family member, but only once. The only case where they may do so again is if they believe the information given to them was false.

There are Legal Limits on Debt Discussions

When it comes to discussing debt, there are only a few situations in which is it legal to discuss your debt with a family member:

  • Your spouse
  • Your parents if you are under 18
  • If you have a guardian or executor

If you find out that a debt collector has shared any details of your debt with anyone else in your life, relative or not, then you will have the opportunity to sue them.

There are also many other limits on the information that can be divulged. This includes that debt collectors cannot disclose that they are working for a collection agency unless specifically asked.

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Why Would a Debt Collector Call My Family?

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. Most people do not want their family or friends to know about their financial struggles. So, this sometimes works as a persuasion tactic.

How to Stop Debt Collectors From Calling Your Family

The easiest way to stop a collector from calling your family is to pay them. Otherwise, you can request that the debt collector stop contacting you regarding the debt. This must be done in writing by sending a cease and desist letter.

If sending a cease and desist letter does not work, you might consider speaking with an attorney. You can choose to file a lawsuit if they have violated your rights and explore other options for a counterclaim.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

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