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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - "In eight months my debt has increased more than fivefold. They even knocked on my door, causing embarrassment. There were nights when I couldn't sleep thinking they were going to foreclose and auction off my property."

The account is from retired banker Lindaura Luz (a fictitious name) who, in recent years has accumulated debts for secured loan, overdraft and credit cards with two of the country's largest private . . .

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