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Owing money on credit cards, medical bills and other loans can make a person feel embarrassed and hopeless, even though most Americans carry debt. Because of the shame or desperation that people can feel in this situation, too many do not ask for help.

However, getting help to deal with debt-related issues can be crucial in helping to address them and protect yourself. One situation in which it can be especially important to ask for help is if creditors are harassing you.

What is creditor harassment?

It is illegal for a creditor or debt collector to harass consumers. If you live in Florida, there are both federal and state laws that protect against harassing and abusive debt collection practices. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act addresses unacceptable actions on the federal level.

Florida’s Consumer Collection Practices Act provides additional protections for residents of this state. Per the FDCPA and the FCCPA, prohibited debt collection practices include:

  • Making threats of violence or force
  • Impersonating a government official or a law enforcement officer
  • Threatening to notify an employer or any other party without permission or court approval
  • Contacting the person frequently to bother him or her
  • Using profane, vulgar and abusive language in communications
  • Enforcing illegitimate debts
  • Failing to properly identify themselves when attempting to collect a debt
  • Calling after 9 p.m. or before 8 a.m. without permission

These and other actions can be harassment, and consumers have the right to stop it.

How to stop harassment

There are multiple options to stop abusive debt collectors, which you can discuss in detail with an attorney. One option is to send a letter to the agency disputing the debt or demanding that any further contact occurs only in writing.

You could also consider filing for bankruptcy. Not only can filing for bankruptcy allow a person to discharge or reorganize debt, but it also requires creditors to stop their collection efforts.

Another option is to file a lawsuit against the harassing party. A lawsuit can stop the harassment and could also result in financial awards for damages.

Creditor harassment only adds to the stress and anxiety of debt; putting a stop to it can make it easier for a person to navigate this difficult time. Whatever you ultimately do, understand that you do not have to confront this situation alone.