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Can a Debt Collector Call My Family?

No one likes dealing with debt collectors. In fact, debt collection phone calls can be downright aggravating and in most cases, consumers treat such calls as a minor annoyance and move on with their lives. It’s a different story, however, when a debt collector calls your family. When a debt collector contacts a family member, it can feel like an outright invasion of privacy. In this article, we discuss the legality of such phone calls. 

Is it Legal? 

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which is a federal consumer protection law, prescribes who debt collectors may contact when attempting to collect a debt. Although it isn’t illegal for debt collectors to call your family, there are strict limits on what they are permitted to discuss when they do so. Pursuant to the FDCPA, with the exception of the situations described below, a debt collector may only contact your family to locate you—not to collect money for your debt. In addition, a debt collector may only contact each family member one time. There are also limitations on the information a debt collector can divulge to your family. For example, a debt collector who calls your family can’t disclose that he or she works for a collection agency unless such information is specifically requested.


In most cases, debt collectors can’t discuss your debt with your family. However, a debt collector can discuss your debt when speaking to:  

  • Your spouse
  • Your parents if you are under the age of 18
  • Your guardian or executor if applicable

If you learn that a debt collector has discussed the details of your debt with anyone other than those people listed above, then you may be able to obtain financial compensation via a lawsuit.

How to Stop Debt Collectors from Calling Your Family

In order to prevent debt collection phone calls and letters to you or your family, you can draft and send a cease-and-desist letter to the debt collector. If the debt collector continues to contact you or your family after you send the letter, you should contact a debt collection lawsuit attorney as soon as possible for assistance. 

Contact a California Debt Collection Lawsuit Defense Attorney 

If you are facing a debt collection lawsuit in California, you should have an experienced California debt collection lawsuit defense attorney on your side. At the Fullman Firm, our experienced debt collection lawsuit defense attorneys have over 40 years of combined experience protecting the rights of consumers just like you, and we are here to help you fight back. When you come to us for assistance, we will guide you through the legal process and do everything in our power to ensure that your debt collection case has a successful conclusion. Please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.