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When do debt collection practices become illegal?

When you find yourself struggling to stay afloat financially, constant calls and communications from creditors may be pushing you over the edge. Debt collectors sometimes engage in unethical tactics when trying to get you to pay what you owe, and in some cases, these methods cross the line and become illegal.

How do you know when debt collection tactics fall outside of the law? The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act outlines exactly when and how debt collection practices become illegal. It dictates that debt collectors may not do the following when attempting to collect on your debt.

Call you at unreasonable hours

Debt collectors must call you between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9.m. unless you dictate otherwise. Calling outside of this window is a direct violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Call you at work after you said not to do so

Debt collectors also may not call you at work if you have already requested that they not do so. They are also not able to text, email or otherwise communicate with you in your place of business if you already asked them not to contact you there.

Harass you

If a debt collector engages in any kind of harassment when communicating with you about your debt, this, too, violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. He or she may not threaten you with any type of violence or harm in an effort to frighten you into settling your debt. The debt collector also may not use profane language when speaking with you or contact you repeatedly by phone just to annoy you.

Mislead you

A debt collector also has an obligation to be honest with you when talking to you about your debt. He or she may not claim to be an attorney if this is not actually true. The debt collector also may not lie to you and tell you authorities are going to show up at your door and arrest you if you fail to pay up if this is not the case.