03/03/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

How To Deal With Debt Collectors

If the phone rings at dinnertime, the odds are greater now that a credit card debt collector will be on the other end.

With card delinquencies rising, debt collectors are jangling more Americans' phones. Some 4.79 percent of credit card accounts, approaching one in 20, were delinquent toward the end of 2008, according to the Federal Reserve. As recently as 2006, the rate was 3.95 percent, or about one in 25. And when card accounts go delinquent, defined as being 30 days past due, that's one of the primary triggers for a call from the credit card company.

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