There are tools like a phone number validator that debt collectors can use to contact debtors. It’s a debt collector’s job to locate people. So if you’re wondering how collections agencies find people or how you can more accurately locate debtors, keep reading.
How Do Collections Get Your Phone Number?
Debt collectors are usually third-party businesses that collect unpaid debts on behalf of the creditors who originated them. Therefore, if you don’t keep up with your payments, you could be contacted by businesses and numbers that you don’t recognize. So if you’ve never done business with these companies, how do they get your number?
Debt collectors get ahold of your phone number the same way anyone else does. Very little of our personal information is private these days thanks to the internet, data sharing, and other modern technology. Obviously, many people provide their phone numbers on their credit applications. But if this isn’t the case, debt collectors are not afraid to go digging for this information.
Here are some common ways debt collectors get phone numbers:
Like we mentioned before, if you borrow money from someone or open a line of credit, this entity can hire someone else to locate the funds for them. Creditors collect contact information from you when you apply for credit. Then, when a creditor hires a collection agency to collect unpaid debts, they forward this information.
So, if you provide your information to a creditor or on a credit application, this information is not limited to that company or business. They will forward this information to the collection agency in an attempt to contact you and collect on the debt as quickly as possible.
Your Credit Report
Your contact information can also be found on your credit report. Creditors report your information to the credit bureaus who then publish it to your credit report. Debt collectors will have access to credit reports and therefore can locate phone numbers, addresses, and email from them.
The most common way a debt collection agency collects debtors’ phone numbers is from incoming calls. You might receive a letter in the mail regarding your debt. When you call to inquire, your number gets saved with your name, reference number, and other account information.
Companies that use toll-free numbers (numbers that start with 800, 888, or 900) typically use Automatic Number Identification (ANI). ANI can automatically identify and store numbers from incoming calls. So if you call first, you can expect to be called back to follow-up on your debts.
A lot of personal information can be found online. If you’ve made a point to hide your number from creditors and debt collectors, you had better make sure that you also hide that information from everyone else, too. Because once it’s published online, it’s fair game. Using a search engine, debt collectors can find phone numbers listed in directories, public records, and social media sites.
People You Know
If a collections agency can’t locate a debtor, they might at least be able to locate an acquaintance. This might be a spouse, an ex, a family member, an employer, a friend, a neighbor…. This process of skip tracing allows debt collectors to investigate other people to locate hard to find debtors.
Can Debt Collectors Find Your New Number?
If you don’t want to pay back your debt and you don’t want debt collectors calling you, you might think about providing a fake number or just getting a new number. However, there are tools that companies can use, like a phone number validator, to double check this information, gather more information, and even append data.
Businesses collect a lot of consumer data, and that data changes frequently. People move, get new numbers, abandon email addresses. To keep up with the changes, businesses use tools to clean their data. This means that they are able to use automated processes to identify incorrect information.
So if your creditor has an old number on file for you, when they clean their database, the system may discover that your name is associated with another number that you’ve used elsewhere. Then, the information can be updated. So, we’re sorry, but the same methods above apply for debt collectors finding your new number, too.
Are Calls from Debt Collectors Legal?
With the annoying number of spam calls we receive, it can be challenging to know for sure whether a call from a debt collector is legitimate. And receiving too many calls can feel like an invasion of privacy. So is it legal for debt collectors to call you if you haven’t given them permission?
The short answer is yes. If you take out a loan, open a line of credit, borrow money, and don’t pay it back, you should expect to be contacted in an attempt to recover the funds that someone else has financed.
However, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was developed in 1978 to place certain restrictions on the collection of consumer and business debts. This act protects consumers against unfair practices and harassment. For example, debt collectors are not permitted to harass or abuse debtors, they must honestly identify themselves, and they must limit their communication in connection with the debt collection.
So, while debt collectors are allowed to conduct a skip trace and get your contact information from people you know, they might only be permitted to call each person only one time. They are also unable to discuss the debt collection with anyone other than the creditor, the debtor, a spouse, or the debtor’s attorney.
Debt collectors that fail to honor the Act can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Abusive debt collectors can face fines charged per call.
Phone Number Validator and Other Tools for Debt Collectors
If you work in the debt collection industry, you know how hard it can be to find the right people. And you can’t collect anything if you can’t find anyone! Using dependable personal data collection and skip tracing tools allows you to collect more money for your clients, build a larger client base, work more efficiently, and make more collections.
Personal Contact Data Tools
The quickest and easiest way to find someone is to conduct a people search. Enter the information that you have and get a report of the debtor’s last known contact information and even relatives.
If you already have a debtor’s phone number, you can use a phone number validator to make sure the number is reachable before you call it. A phone number validator also indicates the line type of a number. This way you know if a number is cell or landline before sending SMS text messages.
A reverse phone lookup tool turns your caller ID into a personal data collection tool. Enter the new number and verify who the number belongs to and who’s calling.
You might want to send SMS text messages to your clients or debtors. An SMS text messaging service allows you to send messages while protecting your own phone number and privacy.
Finally, if you don’t have a phone number but you do have an address, you can use a reverse address lookup to get a phone number associated with the address.
Investigative Service Tools
Now, debtors who are intentionally trying to stay off the grid to dodge debt collectors can be particularly challenging to locate. In these cases, you might want to consider investigative services.
You can get validated phone numbers, verified addresses, and other investigative services from experienced and vetted private investigators. You can even integrate these investigative capabilities into your own system with a skip trace API.
Using a phone number validator and other data collection and verification tools allow you to find debtors faster and increase collection rates. Searchbug has worked with the collections industry for over 20 years. Our data solutions make the collections process more efficient and dependable.
For even more information about phone number validator and other debt collections resources that enable you to find debtors no matter what, check out our full list of resources and tools.