The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has revealed that the number of Americans with at least one credit account in collection has risen to an all-time high. As reported by Inside ARM, the fourth quarter of 2012 saw 14.6 percent of American consumers dealing with third party debt collectors. The previous high was 14.38 percent during the second quarter of 2011. As for the good news, the average account balance for delinquent accounts decreased from $1,546 to $1,499 in the fourth quarter. Overall, total consumer indebtedness was $11.34 trillion, higher than the previous quarter but lower than the record set in the third quarter of 2008 ($12.68 trillion). Further, a $10 billion increase led to a total of $966 billion for outstanding student loan debt. The amount of student loan balances that are 90+ days delinquent increased to 11.7 percent. The report also found that delinquency affecting total debt had decreased to 8.6 percent while outstanding auto loans reached the highest amount in four years at $783 billion. Debt can cause financial difficulties in a consumer’s life. However, financial difficulties plus unfair debt collection can be devastating. Los Angeles fair debt collection lawyer Howard D. Silver works to protect consumers from all types of wrongful practices. Call the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver at (855) 341-2611 to learn more about your rights and what you can do to protect yourself.