In the most normal debt collection scenario the collection agent or the buyer of the written off debt sends out a little intro letter basically asking for money.
The FDCPA in an effort to create the "even" playing field amongst collectors places some restrictions on letter writing. The intro letter must include the following:
the amount of the debt
the name of the original creditor
the period of time in which the debtor may dispute the debt's validity (thirty days by the way)
the obligation of the collection agency to send the debtor verification of the debt if it's validity is disputed.
a "mini-miranda" warning like...." this letter is an effort to collect a debt and any information it gathers from the debtor or other sources wil be used for that purpose." If this warning is not included in the letter, it must be provided within 5 days.
Most attorneys will recommend that the debtor request verification of the debt. A collection agency may not resume the collection effort until the information is confirmed by the original creditor.
Talk to an attorney if you have recieved a collection letter from a collector or debt buyer.