What types of debt collection practices are prohibited?

1.) Harassment-Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you or any third parties they contact. For example, debt collectors may not:

Use threats of violence or harm;
Publish a list of consumers who refuse to pay their debts (Except to a Credit Bureau);
Use obscene or profane language; or
Repeatedly use the telephone to annoy someone. Such as letting your phone ring merely to harass you.

2.) False Statements-Debt collectors may not use any false or misleading statements when collecting a debt. For example, debt collectors may not:

Falsely imply that they are attorneys or government representatives;
Falsely imply that you have committed a crime;
Falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit bureau;
Misrepresent the amount of Your debt;
Indicate that papers being sent to you are legal forms when they are not;
Indicate that papers being sent to you are not legal forms when they are;

3.) Other Prohibited Statements-Debt collectors also may not:

State that you will be arrested if you do not pay your debt;
State that they will seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages, unless the collection agency or creditor intends to do so, and it is legal to do so; or
State that actions, such as a lawsuit, will be taken against you, when such action legally may not be taken, or when they do not intend to take such action.

4.) Prohibited Actions-Debt collectors may not:

Give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit bureau;
Send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency when it is not; or
Use a false name.

5.) Unfair Practices-Debt collectors may not engage in unfair practices when they try to collect a debt. For example, collectors may not:

Collect any amount greater than your debt, unless your state law permits such a charge;
Deposit a post-dated check prematurely;
Use deception to make you pay for collect calls or telegrams;
Take or threaten to take your property, unless it can be done legally; or
Contact you by postcard.