CFPB Finds Older Consumers Face Illegal, Harassing Tactics from Debt Collectors

by Ashlee Kieler, Consumerist

Elder-Abuse-smallAs if we hadn’t said it enough, but debt collectors are the worst, especially when they use illegal tactics to pry money from older American’s living on fixed incomes. A new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau shines light on the issues older consumers face when it comes to their financial well-being.

According to the report, which looked at older consumers’ complaints filed with the CFPB between July 2013 to September 2014, the number one issue Americans 62 years of age and older faced involved their experiences with debt collectors.

The most referenced problems with debt collection that older American’s faced included collectors hounding them about medical debt, attempting to collect debts of deceased family members and illegally threatening to garnish federal benefits.

“Since September 2013, older consumers, like their younger counterparts, have consistently submitted more complaints each month about debt collection than about any other financial product or service,” the report states.

The top debt collection complaint involved misidentification of the borrower. Many consumers reported that although they may have the same name as the actual consumer alleged to owe a debt, they don’t actually owe the debt.

Additionally, the older consumers report that when they try to tell a collector they have the wrong person they are often ignored.

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