Can Debt Collectors Call Your Family?

Chloe Meltzer

May 07, 2021

You don't want your family to hear about your unpaid debts.

Summary: Got a debt collector hounding you? Worried that your family or friends might find out about your old debts? Know the rules for debt collection agencies when they contact your family.

There are specific laws that govern the method by which debt collectors may contact consumers. Within these laws includes barring debt collectors from contacting consumers at work, contacting family and friends, and even how they collect the debt. There is an entire section of the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) that regulates how a third-party debt collector may contact you.

If you are being pursued for debt, you must learn your rights under the FDCPA as well as under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Whether that is making unauthorized robocalls, revealing your debt to your boss, friends, or family other than your spouse, you have rights. Let's dive deeper into this to understand exactly what an FDCPA violation is, and how to obtain restitution if it happens to you.

Don't let your family find out about your debts. Respond with SoloSuit.

Debt Collectors May Not Reveal Your Debt to Anyone

If a debt collector contacts a third party such as your aunt, child, or brother, they cannot speak of your debt. Debt collectors cannot state that you owe money, owe a debt, or anything similar. The only person they may disclose your debt to is your spouse.

The reason this was set into law, was because debt collectors were using this as a method to pressure a consumer to repay a debt. Your debt is your business, and a debt collector may not do this of any kind. Even if it is regarding “I am calling about the student loans of ____.” This violates the FDCPA.

There Is a Limit on How Many Times Your Family and Friends May Be Called

Although a debt collector may call your family or friends simply to ask where you are, they are not allowed to contact a third-party more than once. The only time that they may contact the third party again, is if they are requested to do so.

If a debt collector calls your parents, co-worker, or child, they cannot call again unless asked. Even in this case, they cannot disclose your debt. This often happens and is a great way to create an FDCPA complaint.

Don't let debt collectors push your family around. File a response with SoloSuit.

Debt Collectors Cannot Leave a Message Asking for a Reply

Although debt collectors are allowed to contact other individuals for information based on your location, they cannot leave messages. Specifically, the FDCPA does not allow debt collectors to leave messages with third parties. This includes your family and friends, anyone other than your spouse.

Additionally, the only information a debt collector may ask for from a third-party is your home address, phone number, workplace, or workplace address. When this happens they must also reveal who they work for, but not their personal name, and only when asked by the third-party.

If they know how to contact you then there is no reason why they should be calling anyone else in your life for this information. They cannot ask that person to pass you a message or, worse, harass them. If they do happen to leave a message, this gives you absolute proof to bring to an FDCPA hearing.

Payment Cannot Be Demanded From Family or Friends

If a debt collector tries to collect your debt from someone else, this is a violation. It is completely illegal for a debt collector to attempt to collect a debt from anyone else other than the person that owes it. Even when it comes to a spouse, unless a spouse has co-signed on the debt, you are the only one responsible.

If you are being asked to pay for your spouse's bill or vice versa, then this is illegal. Oftentimes this happens in the case of separated or ex-spouses which is even more of an issue because you are not liable but may feel that you could be.

Another situation that might arise is if the debt collector does not explicitly state, but simply implies that someone other than yourself is responsible. Although they may not directly as for payment, they may say something like “is there any way you can be of help?” In this case, it may push someone to feel that they are liable for the debt, and this is a direct violation of the FDCPA.

Protect your assets by responding with SoloSuit.

Any Form of Harassment Validates an FDCPA claim

Whether you are being harassed by a debt collector or it is someone in your life, it violates the FDCPA. This means that any innocent parties such as your parents, best friend, co-worker, or any other friend or family member, are protected under the FDCPA. If this occurs, this person can also file a claim against an abusive or harassing debt collector.

The first step in this situation will be to ask the debt collector to stop calling. If this does not work, then the debt collector will continue to attempt to collect the debt from the third-party. There is generally miscommunication and the debt collector assumes that the third-party is simply lying, but this still does not give right for them to harass or pursue the wrong person for the debt.

Violations of the FDCPA Should Be Brought to Court

In severe violation cases of the FDCPA, a debt collector may continue to harass or abuse someone who does not owe a debt. When this is one of your family or friends it can be increasingly frustrating. The purpose of the debt collector doing this is to put pressure on the person that owes the debt, in hopes that they will call in and make a payment.

Making a payment on an old debt might not only start over the statute of limitations, but it may give away your location as well. If you are being pursued for debt and a debt collector is calling your family, know your rights.

Can debt collectors call your family? Yes. Can debt collectors harass your family or continue to call after being told to stop? No. Understand your rights under the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act and ensure you always bring a case against a debt collector that violates it.

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.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James


Get Started


>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance

How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection Guides for Other States

Here's a list of guides for other states.

All 50 states.

Guides on How to Beat Every Debt Collector

Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.

Win Against Credit Card Companies

Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.

Going to Court for Credit Card Debt — Key Tips

How to Negotiate Credit Card Debts

How to Settle a Credit Card Debt Lawsuit — Ultimate Guide

Get Answers to These FAQs

Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.

Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?

How long do debt collectors take to respond to debt validation letters?

What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?

Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019?

SoloSuit FAQ

If a car is repossessed, do I still owe the debt?

Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?

Is There a Judgment Against Me Without my Knowledge?

Should I File Bankruptcy Before or After a Judgment?

What is a default judgment?— What do I do?

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills — What Do I Do?

What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?

What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?

What Happens When a Debt Is Sold to a Collection Agency

What is a Stipulated Judgment?

What is the Deadline for a Defendant's Answer to Avoid a Default Judgment?

Can a Judgement Creditor Take my Car?

Can I Settle a Debt After Being Served?

Can I Stop Wage Garnishment?

Can You Appeal a Default Judgement?

Do I Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney?

Do I Need a Payday Loans Lawyer?

Do student loans go away after 7 years? — Student Loan Debt Guide

Am I Responsible for My Spouse's Medical Debt?

Should I Marry Someone With Debt?

Can a Debt Collector Leave a Voicemail?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

What Happens If a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

Can You Serve Someone with a Collections Lawsuit at Their Work?

What Is a Warrant in Debt?

How Many Times Can a Judgment be Renewed in Oklahoma?

Can an Eviction Be Reversed?

Does Debt Consolidation Have Risks?

What Happens If You Avoid Getting Served Court Papers?

Does Student Debt Die With You?

Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work in Texas?

How Much Do You Have to Be in Debt to File for Chapter 7?

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Washington?

How Long Does a Judgment Last?

Can Private Disability Payments Be Garnished?

Can Debt Collectors Call From Local Numbers?

Does the Fair Credit Reporting Act Work in Florida?

The Truth: Should You Never Pay a Debt Collection Agency?

Should You Communicate with a Debt Collector in Writing or by Telephone?

Do I Need a Debt Negotiator?

What Happens After a Motion for Default Is Filed?

Can a Process Server Leave a Summons Taped to My Door?

Learn More With These Additional Resources:

Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.

How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide

How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney

How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know

How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)

Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector

Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency

Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.

Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit

New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt

Sample Cease and Desist Letter Against Debt Collectors

The Ultimate Guide to Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah

West Virginia Statute of Limitations on Debt

What debt collectors cannot do — FDCPA explained

Defending Yourself in Court Against Debt Collector

How to Liquidate Debt

Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt

You're Drowning in Debt — Here's How to Swim

Help! I'm Being Sued by My Debt Collector

How to Make a Motion to Vacate Judgment

How to Answer Summons for Debt Collection in Vermont

North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Debt

ClearPoint Debt Management Review

Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt

Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say

CuraDebt Debt Settlement Review

How to Write a Re-Aging Debt Letter

How to Appear in Court by Phone

How to Use the Doctrine of Unclean Hands

Debt Consolidation in Eugene, Oregon

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills? What to Do Next

How to Make a Debt Settlement Agreement

Received a 3-Day Eviction Notice? Here's What to Do

How to Answer a Lawsuit for Debt Collection

Tips for Leaving the Country With Unpaid Credit Card Debt

Kansas Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection

How to File in Small Claims Court in Iowa

How to File a Civil Answer in Kings County Supreme Court

Roseland Associates Debt Consolidation Review

How to Stop a Garnishment

Debt Eraser Review