Have you ever picked up your phone to find an aggressive voice on the other end demanding payments on a debt you know nothing about? You’re far from alone.
Once you’re in the sights of a debt collector, the impact on your life can be devastating: Your wages can be garnished and your credit ruined. You might lose your driver’s license, or even your job.
And it could happen over a debt you don’t even owe.
In a recent analysis of 75,000 complaints about debt collection practices submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — just a sample of the total number — this was the most common complaint by far. Over 40 percent of people being harassed by collectors said they didn’t owe the debt in the first place.
Other complaints charged that the collectors made false statements or threats to coerce people to pay.