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Deep in Debt? Know Your Rights

If you're behind on a bill, such as a credit card, car loan or medical bill, you may find yourself in the crosshairs of a debt collector. Fortunately, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you from overzealous or nasty tactics. Here's what debt collectors can and can't do.
They can:
  • Contact you in person, by mail, telephone, telegram or fax. 
  • Call you at work if your employer doesn't mind. 
  • Contact others to get your address, phone number and where you work. 
  • Contact you if you haven't instructed them not to. 
  • Tell you what they plan to do ? without threatening, cursing or repeatedly calling you. 
They can't:
  • Contact you at inconvenient times and places unless you agree. 
  • Call you at work if the collector knows your employer disapproves. 
  • Tell anyone other than your attorney that you owe money. 
  • Contact you if you've told them, in writing, to stop ? other than to confirm your request or notify you of their intent to take a specific action. 
If you believe a debt collector has gone too far, contact your state attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission or 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357).
For more information about managing your debt, visit's Debt and Credit channel.

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