Few things are as frustrating as having to deal with debt collectors. While these collectors are often persistent, many times the calls they make actually border on harassment. Many debt collectors will call your home 10 or more times in a day, and in some cases they can even be verbally abusive or threatening (although most will not carry through on their threats).
If you have debt collectors bothering you, the first thing you should do is read the Fair Debts Collections Practices Act. This act states all of your rights and responsibilities as a debtor and lets you know what a collector may or may not do. It will also help you know when the harassment of a debt collector is illegal.
For example, collectors may not call outside of the hours of 8 am and 9 pm. They may not threaten your job or your reputation, or have you arrested. Most surprising to people is that they are not permitted to be verbally abusive.
If harassment from debt collectors has made you afraid to answer the phone, it is time to stand up for yourself. If your rights are being violated, answer the phone and let them know that what they are doing is illegal. If they know that you are aware of your rights, the harassment will often stop dead right there.
If you need to buy time so that you can pay the debt, ask them to send you proof that the debt is yours and that it is valid. Harassment is illegal, and there are many steps you can take to ensure that it stops.