Debt collectors have a poor reputation for being willing to do or say just about anything if it will get you to pay them money for a past debt. Their best strategy, the one most effective, is imposing fear or guilt on one of their targets.
Filing a bankruptcy case stops collector calls immediately when the court imposes an automatic stay. If you have hired an attorney, but not filed a case, you can notify your caller to only contact your attorney and request not to be contacted again.
If you have not hired a bankruptcy attorney, you still have options. Folks with CALLER ID should use it, and not pick up a call from a collector. If you are stuck on the phone, because they called you at work or otherwise, explaining that you don’t have the money to pay up front is probably the best strategy. Treat the caller with the same dignity and respect you expect in return. The collector may propose a settlement or payment plan which improves your financial situation.
However, before agreeing to a settlement, you should learn your rights in bankruptcy so you do not agree to pay money to a creditor which would stay in your pocket during a bankruptcy case. A free consultation with an attorney costs nothing, and can springboard your family to a better financial future. Knowing your options, and choosing the best one, is a critical first step.