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There are many types of debt collectors:
Debt collector - A debt collector is any person whose business it is to collect or attempt to collect debt owed or due to another person and/or company. Debt collectors need a license through the Division of Banks (DOB). All debt collectors are subject to state and federal debt collection laws and regulations.
Debt buyer – A debt buyer purchases debt that is already in default. The debt buyer then attempts to collect on the purchased debt. Debt buyers need a license through the DOB. All debt buyers are subject to state and federal debt collection laws and regulations.
Passive debt buyer - A passive debt buyer purchases delinquent debts for investment purposes only. Passive debt buyers do not directly collect on the debt. Passive debt buyers hire a licensed debt collector or attorney to collect the purchased debts. Licenses are not required for passive debt buyers if a licensed debt collector or an attorney collects the debt.
Attorney collecting debt – An attorney licensed to practice law in Massachusetts does not need a license through the DOB to collect debt on behalf of a client. Attorneys collecting debt are subject to the Supreme Judicial Court’s Rules of Professional Conduct, the disciplinary oversight of the Board of Bar Overseers, restrictions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and the debt collection regulations of the Attorney General’s office.
If a debt collector contacts you, do not give out any personal information (account numbers, social security number, etc.) until you first:
Once you have confirmed the debt and verified the debt collector you should:
A debt collector must abide by laws and regulations when contacting you. Below are things a debt collector must do, can do, and cannot do when attempting to collect a debt.
You may contact the Division of Banks or submit a complaint if you have questions or concerns about your contact with a debt collector.
A debt collector MUST:
A creditor or debt collector CAN:
A debt collector CANNOT:
There are extra protections in place if you are over 60 years old or handicapped. These protections ensure that financially distressed Massachusetts residents are able to maintain the basic necessities of life.