Debt collectors go to some great lengths to collect on their debt, including contacting your employer and family. Dealing with debt is difficult enough without the added hassle of having your privacy violated by a debt collector. Luckily, there are rules that debt collectors must follow and any violations of these rules can lead to serious consequences.
Keeping It Quiet
No one wants their friends, family or employer to know they are having trouble managing their debts, but debt collectors can, and have, contacted these people for information. Debt collectors are only legally allowed to contact these people in order to find out your contact information, such as address, phone number etc. In general, debt collectors are not allowed to contact these people more than once to obtain information and are strictly prohibited from giving out any information about your debts.
According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debt collectors are bound by specific guidelines. However, violations occur all of the time. The Federal Trade Commission encourages consumers protect themselves by:
- Keeping credit accounts to a minimum
- Limiting the number of creditors who have access to your personal information
- Avoid listing friends, family or employers as references on credit accounts
- Inform friends, family or employers of the potential to be contacted and give instructions for them to restrict your information
- Provide a written request to creditors requesting that they do not contact third parties
- Consult a bankruptcy attorney or other financial professional to mediate interactions with creditors