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Should I check that the debt collector is not misrepresenting himself?

ABSOLUTELY.  You have to ask if the debt collector is the company to which you owe the debt.  A bank is forced to resell your credit card debt when it stays too long on their banks.  Debt collectors then buy this debt for a very reduced price but they still try to extort the total amount and even more interest from you.  As an example, you may be 7 months late in paying $1,000 on your credit card.  The debt collector has probably purchased this amount for a substantially lower amount, let’s say $600 to make it simple.  This number is not an actual market figure and should not be a reference for you. The bottom line is that you should not be afraid to negotiate a much lower amount to be paid back.