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By now, our readers know that we take a firm stance against debt collectors who use unethical and illegal practices to try to collect debts. It is important that all of our Florida readers know and understand how to handle debt collectors who don’t follow the legal methods of debt collection. You probably know some basics, such as debt collectors can’t swear at you or make false claims. There are some other things they can and can’t do.

Debt collectors aren’t allowed to harass you or use deceptive practices to collect a debt. This doesn’t mean that they can’t contact you. They are allowed to fax you, call you and send you mail. They can also contact you in person. You should know that they can only talk to you about your debt. The only exception to that is if they speak to your attorney. They aren’t allowed to speak to any of your family members or friends about your debt.

If you are contacted by a debt collector who claims that you are committing a crime, that is a signal that the debt collector is using illegal tactics to collect the debt. This is a form of trickery and harassment that isn’t allowed at all. The same is true if the debt collector threatens to harm you.

Another aspect of debt collection that some people might not think about is how debt collectors might get updated contact information. It might shock you to learn that it is legal for debt collectors to contact your family members, friends, and anyone else to get your current contact information. Even when they do that, they can’t discuss the debt with that third party.

It is a good idea for you to keep detailed records of any contact a debt collector makes with you or third parties. This can help you if you have to take action against the debt collector for using illegal methods to collect a debt. For example, if a debt collector called your sibling on a certain date and said you owe a specific company money, you might be able to use that in a complaint against the debt collector.

Source: The Motley Fool, “Can a Debt Collector Really Do That to Me?” Matthew Frankel, Sep. 28, 2014