When a credit card company gets tired of dealing with your debt, it often sells the debt asset to another agency, often a credit collection company. The new company may start to hassle you for payments - but first you need to figure out what your correct amount of debt is, and to whom you owe it.
Before dealing with this new company, call the old credit card company to find out who is holding your debt now. Find out what the amount is you still owe. Get as much current information as you can from them as you can, and also dig out all your statements and receipts, plus proof of payments you've made.
In many cases, you do not even owe the debt a credit collector is trying to collect from you! There are many collectors who try threatening tactics to coerce you to pay a debt, but in actuality it might be someone else's debt that is trying to be collected, or it could be that you have already paid the debt! Don't let anyone intimidate you - talk calmly to them and find out the actual story about the debt they say you owe.
I had two circumstances recently that told me there are "fishy" people working the business. In one case, the person kept calling and insisting that there is a lien against my company for a debt (funny - I use a PO Box for mailing purposes and it's the official business address - how can there be a lien against a PO Box?). I kept trying to get the guy to tell me details, but the more he dug, the less he could explain. It turns out it was some debt that a similar sounding company had - but he could not locate it, so he started going through records to find any company of a similar name, and started off with threatening tactics immediately, thinking he can get the debt paid by anyone. I told him to take me off his list and never call again. So far, so good.
Another situation I had is that I had paid off a credit card debt, in full, in a settlement, awhile back. I began to get calls and notices in the mail one week - at which point I spoke to them and they demanded the balance by the end of the month. I asked which credit company this debt is from, and he stated the details to me. I said this is odd, because I had paid that debt off already, and have the settlement pay-off statement to prove it. Then he started to slow down, and took awhile going through the records in his computer - and found that I had settled the account in full. I told him to not call or hassle me anymore, and so far, so good.
The moral of the story is - keep all your paperwork, and keep the last month's statement of any credit card bill you have. Always keep settlement statements (and make sure you get a settlement statement is you do negotiate a pay- off). Keep track of every credit situation you have - and don't let anyone bully you into paying something - even if you do owe it. Calmly get your papers in order, and figure out what is correct in the situation. If you owe the debt, then discuss the payment terms with a representative, but stress that he or she must speak to you in a civil manner. You can work out a payment plan, but not be pushed into an ultimatum.
Did you know that these tactics are used effectively and many people have been coerced into paying the same debt over and over (or pay into someone else's debt who is a mistaken identity) because they don't bother to check their bills or records to prove or disprove the debt. If the bullying tactics work, they will continue to try.
One more way to keep the creditors from calling or hassling you is to find out the mailing address of the collector who is calling, and send a statement telling this company to quit calling. They are required to comply with your request. Make sure to keep a copy of the letter you send, and also to send it certified, or in some way get proof of its receipt by the creditor.