How to Stop Debt Collectors From Calling You at Work

A man is frustrated talking on the phone

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It's a debt collector's job to get you to pay your outstanding debt. One of the ways they attempt to do this is by calling you to discuss your debt and to set up a payment. Debt collectors use a variety of tactics to get valid phone numbers for you, and one of those numbers could end up being your work number. Unfortunately, debt collector calls at work are inconvenient and, if your boss disapproves, they could put your job at risk.

Debt Collectors Can Call You at Work, but There Are Rules

Debt collectors are allowed to call you at work, but only under very specific circumstances. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act governs what third-party debt collectors can and cannot do when collecting a debt. It says that debt collectors aren’t allowed to call your place of employment if they know or should know your employer doesn’t approve of them calling your job. Depending on your occupation (if the debt collector knows your occupation), the collector could safely assume you're not allowed to take calls at work.

How to Stop Collectors From Calling You at Work

Giving a debt collector the benefit of the doubt may be too generous, but calling you at work could be an honest mistake. There's a chance the debt collector doesn't know the number they've called is your work number. They may not be aware of your occupation, so they can't know whether or not your employer allows personal calls while on the job.

You can stop debt collectors from calling you at work fairly easily. Simply tell the debt collector that your employer doesn’t want them calling your job or that you're not allowed to receive personal calls at work. Once the debt collector is aware of either situation, they are legally required to stop calling you at work.

Document the date and time you asked the debt collector to stop calling your job. Following up with a letter will give you additional proof that you asked the debt collector to stop calling your job. If you have to take legal action against the collector, these pieces of evidence will help support your case.

Paying off the debt will stop the debt collector from calling you both at work and home. Before you pay the debt, send a validation letter requesting that the collector provide you with proof that the debt is yours and you're legally obligated to pay it. If you're satisfied that the debt is legitimate, pay it off to have it taken care of for good. Not only will you stop collection calls, but you can also work toward repairing any credit damage you received by having an unpaid collection account on your credit report.

What to Do If the Debt Collector Keeps Calling

Telling the debt collector that you can't receive calls at work will only stop those work calls. The collector can continue to contact you at other numbers it has on file for you—such as your home number or cell—unless you send a cease-and-desist letter requesting that the debt collector stop calling you.

If the debt collector continues to call you at your job, even after you've told them you cannot receive these calls, submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. With enough complaints against a particular collector, the CFPB may issue a fine against the collector and demand that it stop breaking the law. You may also have grounds to sue the debt collector for actual and punitive damages.

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  1. Federal Trade Commission. "Fair Debt Collection Practices Act."

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