Step 1: Make Sure It’s Legal To Record Phone Calls

  • It is a crime in the following states to record telephone calls without the consent of ALL parties. Do not record any telephone call originating from, entering into, or emanating out of these 12 states, without the consent of all parties to the communications which was obtained PRIOR to making the recording:

California – Connecticut – Florida – Illinois – Massachusetts – Maryland – Michigan – Montana – Nevada – New Hampshire – Pennsylvania – Washington

  • Know what city and state the calls are coming from, and or what city and state you’re returning a call to. If you cannot determine the physical location of the collection calls, then DO NOT RECORD THEM.
  • If you cannot record, simply use your recorder to make a diary immediately after the call of what was said during the call. Be sure to note the date and time of the call at the beginning of your diary entry.
  • Voice-mails and answering machine messages left for you may always be recorded. This is another great use of a digital recorder and will allow you to preserve critical evidence in your case.
  • Generally speaking, it makes no difference that your state allows recording if the other state the collector is in prohibits it. Always make sure both states allow it. This information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Do your own legal research before making recordings of any communications over which not all of the parties have consented.
  • It is a federal crime to record any conversation when you are not a party to it. This is known as wiretapping and the civil and criminal penalties for this conduct are huge. Don’t ever do it.
  • Click here to go to and read “Can We Tape? – A Practical Guide to Taping Phone Calls and In-Person Conversations in the 50 States and D.C.” This is an excellent guide to current state laws regarding the recording of collection calls throughout the United States. Always verify this information with a competent attorney before you record, though.

Step 2: Get the proper equipment and start documenting your collection calls

We recommend the new Sony digital recorder for recording collection calls. It’s awesome and it instantly records directly to MP3 files. It is Mac and PC compatible. Olympus Digital Recorder. About $39 but shop around for bargains at places like B&H Photo in New York.

You’ll need a microphone for the recorder. We recommend the Olympus Mini Telephone Recording Device. It works with absolutely any phone, including all types of cell phones. This is the in-ear microphone tap which plugs into the digital recorder. Here is the microphone at B&H Photo.