Is it illegal for a collection agency to call others than the person who owes the debt and leave false information?

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Is it illegal for a collection agency to call others than the person who owes the debt and leave false information?

Yesterday my wife and my brother who lives in another state received a call. The message that was left was that they were calling from the State Attorneys Office and were calling because the person they were calling were listed as next of kin on a legal document. The message said they had a legal summons that would be served to my place of employment if they were not contacted. They also referenced a case number that they were processing for the state. I called the number and found it was a collection agency that states to be a pre-litigation attorney firm.

Asked on September 14, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, South Carolina


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

In every state in this country there are statutes prohibiting unfair debt collection practices. Likewise there is a federal law prohibiting such practices as well by third party debt collection companies.

Each state has its own definition as to what consitutes an unfair debt collection practice separate and apart from the federal definitions of such.

From what you have written, the leaving of false and deceptive messages by the third party debt collection company could very well be an unfair debt collection practice that could be reported by your brother to the attorney general of the state he lives in.

Threatening a lawsuit for collection purposes is one of the many prohibited acts under many state's unfair debt collection practices act.

If the calls persist, your brother and his wife may want to consult with an attorney experienced with debt collection practices.

Good luck.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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