Anyone who has ever been harassed by a collection agency knows that this is a very uncomfortable position to be in. It can also be quite embarrassing to be receiving these phone calls just about everywhere you go. In fact, with cell phones replacing landlines in many cases, you may actually be harassed more now than you would have a few years ago. There are, however, laws that they have to follow, and you can stop the harassment by being aware of these laws.
The first thing that you must keep in mind is that they cannot call you at work unless you have given them permission to. If they do this, you need to just politely inform them that you cannot have them calling while you are at work. They also may not call before 8am or after 9pm. If they do, you do not have to take the call.
They cannot make threats of things that are illegal for them to do. There are some unscrupulous debt collection agencies that will tell you they are lawyers when they are not. They will threaten you with jail, even for debts that have already been settled. This is illegal practice, and you do need to make sure that you tell them it is illegal. Chances are that they know it is, but they count on you not knowing.
One mistake that many people make is that they are too quick to claim the debt as theirs, because they do want to be honest. Even if you think the debt is yours, ask for verification in writing before claiming it. You would be surprised at how many debt collection agencies are unable or unwilling to provide written verification of the debt in question. Many debt collection agencies, especially the shady ones, try to get away without giving you a physical address, and refusing to send verification is one of the ways they do this. The reason for this is that if they do, this gives you a place to send a letter that would stop the harassment. You can send a letter asking them not to contact you further regarding a particular debt. You do need to send it Certified Mail: Return Receipt Requested in order for it to be valid, but they cannot contact you by phone from that point forward.
These are just a few of the steps that you can take to stop the harassment from collection agencies. Of course, if you are really desperate to get rid of the collection calls, and you have no way of paying your bills otherwise, bankruptcy is an option. While it is not necessarily your first choice or the best option, it does wipe out most of your debt, unless you owe, child support, spousal support, student loans or the IRS, none of which usually call to harass you that often anyway.