Debt collectors are required by law to inform you in their initial contact with you that they are a debt collector attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained will be used for that purpose. They must also inform you in their initial communication, or in a written notice within 5 days after the initial contact with you, the amount of the debt; the name of the creditor; and a statement of your rights. Within 30 days after receiving this notice, you have the option to send the debt collector a written notice that you dispute the debt, or that you request verification that the debt is really owed by you, and the name of the original creditor (sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, of course). If the debt collector fails to respond, that debt collector is prohibited from pursuing the debt any further.
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