Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
A strong federal law, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, protects consumers against certain unfair collection practices. It applies only to outside, or third party debt collectors (not creditors collecting their own debts) and only for personal (not business) debts.
State laws may provide additional protection.
Every year, the Federal Trade Commission makes a report to Congress describing the debt collection complaints they received. According to that report, the FTC received 140,036 complaints about debt collectors—up from 119,609 in 2009.