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Amortize: To liquidate or reduce an amount owed through a series of payments.

ANI: Automatic Number Identifier.

Attorney: A legal agent authorized to appear before a court of law as a representative of a party to a legal controversy.

Automatic Number Identifier: The ability of a company to identify an 800-number caller's name and address. Every time a consumer calls one of these toll-free 800 numbers, there is a record of that call; the debt collection community frequently uses this to locate a consumer's home or business location after they have gone underground. (Use pay phones!)

Bad Debt Expense: An accounting category reserved for debts deemed uncollectible.

Bankruptcy: A legal maneuver allowing consumers or businesses to discharge all debts and liabilities. The actions of most debt collection agencies force consumers into bankruptcy instead of settling outstanding accounts.

Blackmail: Any payment induced by or through mediation, by use of threats of injurious information or accusations. (A technique frequently used by unethical debt collection agencies.)

Bulletproofing: Insulating yourself from financial adversaries such as creditors, debt collectors, attorneys, etc. Simple techniques include obtaining an unlisted phone number and post office box to more advanced maneuvers such as use of family trusts, corporations, etc.

Cease and Desist (also known as Cease-Commed): Term used, by the debt collection industry to describe the status of an account. When a consumer has cease-commed a debt collector this means that they have invoked federal law by sending a Cease & Desist letter via certified mail, forcing the debt collector to cease collection activity of that account.

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