Consumer Protection Advocate Mike Bannon joined Chris Ermer on UpWords Tuesday to talk about the approaching holiday season and the debt that can come with it.

“Unfortunately sometimes people run into hard times,” Bannon warned. “They spend too much during the holiday season.”

Unfortunately, sometimes a business will sell people’s debt to a private debt collector.

“There are things that debt collectors can do, for example they can call your work,” Bannon says. Bannon says that in that case, a person must send a letter to the collector stating they may not contact their place of business, but the letter must be sent to stop a collector from contacting a workplace.

If a person receives a notice of a debt, they should ask the collector to submit something in writing rather than have a conversation over the phone. This will ensure the notice is legitimate and not a scam.

The holidays are also a time of giving, during which people commonly donate to charities to make someone else’s life a bit better. However, Bannon urges caution for residents who would like to donate to charities this holiday season.

“Make sure you do your homework on the charities you give money to,” Bannon said. It is important to vet charities and be sure that it is the one people want to donate to in order to make their money count.

Go to buckscounty.org for more information on debt collection, or call the consumer protection office at 215-348-6060.

WBCB’s Keith Noonan contributed to this post.