Collectors often work under "desk names" which are pulled out of thin air, or out of a novel or movie or TV show.
Oregon actually has a statute that allows for desk names but requires the collection agency to keep a registry of which collector is using which desk name.
It is possible that suing the collector individually when suing the agency will trigger some additional insurance coverage that may allow you to recover more money. As my colleague said, many attorneys do throw the collector in as a named party. If the name is obviously a desk name, the part of the caption for that defendant would read something like "John Doe, a/k/a 'Jack Bauer'" and then you would depose the floor manager at the collection agency and find out who was using the desk name, and you would then amend the suit to name them correctly.
You sue the company. Most likely, the name given you by the collector is not that person's true name. But, it wouldn't be worth suing the person anyway.
The law is complicated and although the facts expressed may seem to be all that is relevant, there may be many other important facts to consider. Also, the law is constantly undergoing change, so what may be correct today, may not be accurate tomorrow. Only a full consultation with an attorney experienced or knowledgeable in the specific legal subject matter is likely to result in the optimal course of action.
Many of my colleagues do name the individual collector as a Defendant, in addition to the company, depending on the nature of the violation. Did the collector in your case engage in any overt harassment towards you?
Please note that no attorney-client relationship is created by my answers to questions on the Avvo forum. My responses should not be construed as legal advice, regardless of whether I am admitted to practice in your state or not. I am an attorney in Miami Beach, FL, practicing foreclosure, bankruptcy, credit repair, debt defense, and aviation law. Please consult a lawyer in your state if you seek legal advice.
YOU shouldn't be doing an FDCPA/FCCPA case pro se at all. The reason is the biggest threat for the defendant is the exposure to the mountain of attorney's fees THEY CREATE if they engage in thier typical obstructive defenses, etc. This doesn't exist with a pro-se litigant so you are losing a great deal of leverage in dealing with them.