Debt Collectors have a special place in hell waiting for them, along with law school deans and Sallie Mae employees. But until the day the collector calling you 24/7 is hit by a truck and dies a slow painful death, here are some tips for dealing with them.
First of all, they can't collect money until they get a judgment against you. Only your federal school loans and the IRS can dip into your accounts without a judgment. So for credit card debt, unpaid utilities, etc., they will have to go to court first and win. So if they threaten to empty bank accounts or have you put in jail (not possible) make note of when it was said and who said it, and sue them.
I successfully fought off debt collectors on a Chase card because Chase did some questionable things. Not only was the debt discharged, they had to pay a $25,000 fine. Look for something illegal that the company did or that the debt collector is doing.
Examples: Chase added a charge of $350. to lower my interest rate. That's illegal, and they paid a fine for it. Debt collectors can't continue to call you after you send a certified letter asking them to stop. Debt collectors can't call your place of employment. They can be fined $1000 a call. If the debt collector calls at work cause you to lose your job, you can sue them.
If you want to pay, offer to pay 10% to 20% of the outstanding debt to have it wiped out. By the time a debt gets to a collector, it means that the owner of the debt has sold it to the debt collector for pennies on the dollar. They just want to get something.
Never forget that debt collectors are simply hustlers trying to get you to pay because they get a commission every time you pay.