Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in New York

Can a debt collection agency give you the name, address, and last four of the social security number associated with the debt they are trying to collect? Or must they ask you to provide it?

Example: *phone rings*

Me: hello?

Debt collector: is this (gives name)?

Me: yes

Debt collector: (spews usual debt collection speech) are the last four digits of your social security number ****?

Me: I’m sorry I don’t think you can just give out that information over the phone...

Debt collector (obviously angered by this statement): yes we can tell you that information. Now are you (gives name, address, and last four of the social security number again)

At this point I hung up the phone... is giving out the personal information in this manner legal? Or do they have to ask you to provide that information to them to verify that the account is yours

Asked on 5/23/18, 3:37 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Carol Ryder Law Office of Carol Ryder PC

Yes this is legal under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") since it appears that they were, in apparent 'good faith", as defined under the FDCPA, attempting to ensure that they were speaking with the right person. You did write that you said 'yes" as opposed to stating "who is this?". Of course, if they had asked YOU for your Social Security number or any part thereof, I know you would never give it out but there are people that fall victims to that potential identity theft and clear violation of the FDCPA.

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Answered on 6/21/18, 11:29 am

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