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I found this on the net today. It was originally printed in Newsweek. Most of you probably know all this already.

Thursday 08-07-2008 5:13am ET
Money is really tight these days and just about everyone is having a hard time paying their bills. But if you get too far behind on your payments, the collection agencies start calling. However, some of the methods they use are actually illegal. Here are some of the most common tactics according to Newsweek magazine:

1 in 4 calls to the Federal Trade Commission are complaints about debt collections. Including that they’re trying to recoup debts you don’t actually owe, trying to collect more than you owe, or using harassing or threatening behavior to force you to pay.
Half of all debt collectors use automated calling systems, but if the prerecorded message doesn’t reveal the name of the debt collector or what the call is about – it’s considered deceptive. Try to get an actual person on the line. Then tell them that they’re required to identify themselves and to prove that the debt is really yours. Then tell them that you want all further contact in writing.
Going after so-called “Zombie debt” - a debt that’s more than 10 years old. The problem with that is, it’s beyond the statute of limitations for collection. Zombie debts are also difficult – if not impossible – to prove. If that happens to you, you should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Trying to coerce you into providing a “token payment” or a “good faith payment” just to make them go away. Until they’ve proven – in writing – that the debt is yours, don’t give them a penny. Even paying $1 is considered an acknowledgement that you’re responsible for the entire debt. Once you do that, they’ll keep going after you – even if you don’t owe them anything.

Thanks for the tip. That is good to know.

Sub: #1 posted on Thu, 08/07/2008 - 08:41

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