Under the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC)Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, collection agencies may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representations or means to collect debts. They may not harass, oppress, or abuse any person while attempting to collect a debt. Every collector must send you a written "validation notice" telling you how much money you owe within five days after they first contact you. This notice also must include the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money, and how to proceed if you don't think you owe the money. A debtor may be contacted between 8 am and 9pm only and can be contacted at work unless instructed not to. You can stop a debt collector from contacting you by writing a letter to the collector to stop. Once the collector receives your letter, they may not contact you again except to say there will be no further contact or to notify you that the debt collector or the creditor intends to take some specific action. Collectors may not tell others about the debtor's personal finances. If you do not owe the money the debt collector may not contact you if you send the collector a letter within thirty days after you are first contacted. However, a debt collector can begin collection activities again if you are sent proof of the debt, such as a copy of the bill. For more information on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act contact the FTC's at 1-877-382-4357 or via their website at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre27.pdf. For Debt Collection FAQ visit http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre18.shtm and http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt076.shtm for Tips of Collection Calls. Consumers can also file a complaint with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at www.consumerfinance.gov.
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