4 steps to stop debt collectors in their tracks

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    By Maryalene LaPonsie/MoneyTalksNews

    The next time you're in a room with six other people, look around: A debt collector is probably hounding one of you.

    An April 2014 report from the Center for Responsible Lending found that one in seven Americans is on the receiving end of debt collection activities.

    More concerning is the fact that some of these consumers may not owe the debt at all. Accounts are bought and sold, and balances may be incorrectly stated or settled accounts erroneously listed as in default.

    If you find yourself on the receiving end of debt collection calls -- regardless of whether the debt is valid -- here are four steps to stop abusive debt collection practices.