April is national financial literacy month

Consumers need to know hot tempered debt collectors are way out of line

Published On: Apr 02 2013 11:18:04 AM EDT

April is National Financial Literacy month and a great time for Florida consumers to be aware of their options if contacted by a debt collector about "a delinquent or defaulted account."

“While no one really wants to get a call or letter telling them they owe money, consumers need to know they are not alone,” Florida Collectors Association President James Welborn said. “Each year, for many very legitimate and often unavoidable reasons, millions of consumers fall behind on payments and are contacted by a debt collector.”

The Florida Collectors Association offers tips for Florida consumers to help handle those dreaded "third-party debt collector" phone calls. According to the Florida Collectors Association a third-party debt collector is "unique in that they are service provider hired by the owner of the debt (i.e., a creditor or debt buyer) to recover a rightfully owed debt on their behalf."

Consumers have rights under federal and state law.

By law, consumers cannot be harassed, threatened or be subjected to profanity and vulgar language.

Consumers need to remember:

This is tax time: If you believe your identity has been stolen, contact your local police department and visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft for information on what you should do.