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Here's what to do if you're being harassed by a creditor

One conversation with a creditor is all it takes to make you feel like a criminal. That's because, despite laws that forbid them from doing it, creditors often resort to underhanded tactics to collect a debt, including screaming at or berating a debtor. Even if you've given up on answering the phone, the ring alone can send a shiver down your spine. And that's exactly what they want. If they can make you miserable, you might be willing to pay just to stop the madness.

Luckily, there is hope. The law is very specific about what a creditor or a collection agency can and can't do in order to collect on a debt. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, collection agencies have to identify themselves to you. They cannot curse at you. They also can't call you at work if you tell them not to and they must call between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. unless you give them permission.

If they do cross one of these lines, you can exercise your legal rights by reporting them to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the state Attorney General or The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals.

Another option is to sit down with a debt relief attorney. A skilled legal professional may be able to help you stop creditors from harassing you, put an end to foreclosure proceedings or stop your vehicle from being repossessed. They can also look at your situation and help you get a fresh financial start.


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