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There are times when you miss a debt collector’s letter because it looks vague and impersonal and you you mistook it for a marketing solicitation. Then there are times when you miss their correspondence altogether because it never arrived at your address.

Here, we’ll discuss how to avoid the latter in one easy step.

What’s in the Mail?

If you’ve let a bill slide for a while, odds are good a debt collector is trying to reach you. (Remember, just because you haven’t received a debt collection notice or a phone call doesn’t mean that they aren’t — or that you’re off the hook for the payment.) But if you don’t check your mail that often, or worse, never check it all, now’s as good a time as any to get in the habit. That’s because debt collectors could be sending time-sensitive, critical information that you, the consumer, need to know. Like your payment history, debts in collection affect your credit score and can lead to all sorts of headaches.

Don’t Miss a Thing 

Moved recently? If you forgot to forward your mail, that’s could be why you missed the message. Fortunately there’s an easy way to fix the problem: Sign up for Regular Forward mail on USPS.com. As the site notes, it costs $1.05, (charged to a credit card, to verify your identity, the U.S. Postal Service says) and you can use the service for as short as 15 days or as long as 1 year. After the first 6 months, you can opt to extend the service for another 6 months. The Postal Service will hand-deliver each item to your mailbox so you’re sure not to miss a thing.

If you do wind up getting a debt collection notice, you’ll need to determine whether you owe money or, even, if the debt is too old to be collected. You should also ask the collector for a written verification to ensure that it isn’t a scam. If you’re not convinced the collection is legitimate, you can call your state attorney general’s office to find out if the collector is licensed. As you deal with the account, you can use Credit.com’s free credit report card tool, updated every 14 days, to see how it may be affecting your credit score. You can learn more about your debt collection rights here.

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