A July 31, 2011 article in The Sacramento Bee had a good summary of what a debt collector can and cannot do. The article was written by Claudia Buck (McClatchy Newspapers). It included excerpts from an interview with Robert Tavelli, former president of a private California debt collection firm.
Debt collectors are subject to a number of legal restrictions. For example a debt collector cannot contact you before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.; and cannot contact you at work once they have been told you cannot take calls there.
This article caught my attention because it mentioned that debt collectors will generally not pursue individuals who look like they are financially unable to pay the debt. This of course makes perfect sense — a debt collector would gain nothing by pursuing someone who appeared to be uncollectable.
This same concept applies in general to asset protection planning. A creditor is going to be far more likely to aggressively pursue you if it appears all of your assets can be seized with relative ease. The harder it looks to collect from you, the more likely a creditor will settle for a lesser amount. So taking appropriate steps to lawfully protect your assets before you have any creditor problems is highly advisable.