"This call is from a debt collector and all information will be used for that purpose. This call may be recorded."
Most debt collectors record all their calls. They do this for their own benefit. When they call you or vice versa, you should absolutely do the same, every single time.
Calls from debt collectors can be stressful and harrowing because they're calling you to try and force you to do something you either cannot or really don't want to do. They don't make a living being friendly and understanding. For the most part, the only restrictions on what a collector can say or do is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which bans "false, deceptive, or misleading" remarks, "unfair or unconscionable" tactics, threats of illegal activity, that sort of thing. But the line between tough negotiation and deception or illegal threats is blurry, and often collectors will step (or leap) across it when they think it'll close an account. If you catch them doing this, you can force them to pay you what essentially amounts to a fine under federal law.
When you have a nasty call from a collector, the only way to know for sure whether they broke the law is to talk to a consumer attorney, who generally will review your claim for free (certainly we would), since the same law that lets you collect a fine also lets them collector their attorney fees from the debt collector. But there's a big difference between your word and a recording. For example, if a potential client tells me a collector threatened to throw their family out on the street, I would be reluctant to take the case even if I completely believed in the person's honesty. Memory is a tricky thing, and I don't want to put a lot of time and energy into a lawsuit only to find out from the debt collector's recording that what he actually said was "if we do sue you get a judgment, we could potentially attempt to garnish your wages directly" (which is totally true and fine). If you record your own calls, you can be totally sure what got said, and so can any attorney.
So how do you record a call?
First thing's first: check your state laws. A few states don't let you record a phone call without the other side's consent. But most do. Find your state's status here.
If you have an iPhone, here is a guide to downloading an using a call recorder. If you have an Android phone, use this guide. If a collector calls you for the first time, say you'll call back in two minutes, install and run this app, and then call them back.
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