Who do you owe the money too, the original creditor or a debt collector?
There are two types of debt collectors. There are debt buyers and then there are agents who represent the original creditor (the people you borrowed the money from.)
They agents who represent the original creditor have far less punch than the debt buyers and can often be ignored after sending them a few letters requiring proof of claim.They make lots of noise and threats but that's all.
Debt buyers are called that because they have purchased the debt off the creditor (bank etc you borrowed the money from) Debt buyers can take you to court for the money but most often don't because they have a lot of difficulty proving they their claim on the money.
To prove their claim, all debt collectors must provide you with at a minimum, the assignment (sale) of the debt from the original creditor to themselves which they will not want to do because you will then know how much they paid for it, usually 5-10 cents in the dollar. They also have to provide you with a copy of the original agreement you signed with the creditor and they must produce a copy of the original creditors letter of Default.
Nothing stops you from requiring a copy of the original accounting that brought the credit into existence and verification of all the accounting up to present day. You may require other things also.
The thing about debt buyers is that is this very key information. Every single cent you give a debt buyer will go absolutely nowhere but into the back pocket of the debt collector. Not one single cent will ever go back to the original creditor, the people you borrowed the money off in the first place. The original creditor will have claimed on their insurance and written it off on tax also and be long gone and likely suffered very little financial loss. Remember; i said they SOLD the debt and therefore they have no further claim on you.