We’ve talked a lot in past posts about certain not-okay behaviors by creditors looking to collect. One of the major assets they utilize is embarrassment; they know the nature of human curiosity, and they’re often not afraid to capitalize on it.

While this is annoying and stressful at home, it can be even worse at a job, where the debtor is undoubtedly trying to work their way out of the situation. We are, rightfully, sensitive to the information released about us in a professional atmosphere. Here are a few things to know about what is legally permitted (if ethically questionable) and what is forbidden by consumer protection legislation.

What they can ask for

If a collector is unaware of your contact information, or if you moved or changed your number without following up, they can contact others to reach you. However, the information they can collect on these calls is limited to home address, home phone number and place of employment. They cannot ask for any other information, and they cannot disclose the reason for the call.

If a coworker is contacted, the best way to protect yourself from further contact is to give them your updated home contact information. It’s also a good idea to formally request they stop contacting you at work. Put it in writing, and make a copy.

What you can do if they cross the line

Many state laws have protections in place for consumers facing this type of harassing contact. Debt collectors know this, so if you fight back, they are likely to consider a settlement to avoid legal fees and a potentially greater fine for their behavior.

No one should have to worry about losing their job due to these practices. Collectors are aware of the possible damaging effects of their tactics, and you can do something to stop them. An attorney can help you to determine whether or not your rights have been violated.

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