NACARA Members, along with the FTC, Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Partners Announce Participation in Operation Collection Protection
Reprinted in part from www.ftc.gov
On November 4th, 2015, several NACARA members, along with the Federal Trade Commission and other law enforcement authorities around the country announced the first coordinated federal-state enforcement initiative targeting deceptive and abusive debt collection practices. This nationwide crackdown encompasses 30 new law enforcement actions by federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities against collectors who use illegal tactics such as harassing phone calls and false threats of litigation, arrest, and wage garnishment. The cases announced today bring to 115 the total number of actions taken so far this year by the more than 70 law enforcement partners in the Operation Collection Protection initiative.
Some of these actions allege that collectors knowingly attempted to collect so-called phantom debts – phony debts that consumers do not actually owe. The illegal practices targeted by authorities also include the failure of some collectors to give consumers legally required disclosures and notices, or to follow state and local licensing requirements.
“Being in debt is stressful enough for many Americans without also being subjected to intimidation and false threats,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said. “Debtors have certain rights and rogue collectors that step outside the law will face the consequences of illegal behavior.”
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said, “My office receives thousands of calls and complaints each year from consumers who are victims of illegal debt collection tactics. Through our partnership with the FTC and states across the country, we are putting scam operations out of business and protecting consumers from abusive practices by legitimate creditors.”
Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman added, “Illegal and abusive tactics by debt collectors are a nationwide problem that requires a nationwide response. By working together in this new federal-state collaboration, we are joining our forces to stop these abusive practices and protect the public.”
Participating NACARA members, including the Arizona – Department of Financial Institutions; Colorado – Department of Law; Connecticut – Department of Banking; Idaho – Department of Finance; Maine – Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection; Maryland – Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation; Massachusetts – Division of Banks; Minnesota – Department of Commerce; Nevada – Department of Business and Industry / Division of Financial Institutions; and New York City – Department of Consumer Affairs, announced multiple actions against debt collectors for various violations of applicable state law and regulation. Many other NACARA members and other state regulatory agencies also participated in regular coordination events related to Operation Collection Protection. A list of all participants can be found HERE.