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Debt collectors are inevitable when falling behind on payments, but the worst thing a debtor could do is not answer the phone.

Debt collectors are inevitable when falling behind on payments, but the worst thing a debtor could do is not answer the phone, according to Wise Bread, a personal finance blog.

“You will have to deal with them calling and sending you letters, and the debt may be reported to your credit report,” Michelle Dunn, author of various books on debt collection, told Wise Bread. “You should never ignore a collection agency — that only intensifies the calls … and can promote court action.”

Dunn has been on both sides of debt as a collector and a debtor, according to Wise Bread.

Debtors should respond to calls and letters to verify the debt is being handled. If there has been an error in the debt collection agency claims, then it must be addressed in a limited time.

"You must ask for verification within the first 30 days of being contacted. If you wait and ignore the calls and letters and the 30 days goes by, by law you are acknowledging that you owe the money,” Dunn told Wise Bread. “It will be much harder for you to dispute the debt after that, and you may lose in court, since the law states you have 30 days to dispute the debt or request the verification.”

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