News & Resources

Criminals joining ranks of debt collectors, often unchecked

Dec 28, 2010 Kyle Duncan

An unlikely group has become a fixture in the world of debt collection in the state of Minnesota - convicted criminals. According to an investigation by the Star Tribune, at least 743 people with criminal records have been registered with the state as official debt collectors since 2005, circumventing a system that is supposed to keep them out. The news source found that the Commerce Department, which is responsible for regulating the debt collection agency, had registered many debt collectors with criminal records. "The system in this state for screening collectors is broken," said Patrick Hayes, a consumer attorney in Minneapolis in an interview with the news source. "These are people who can find out where you bank, where you live, even where your friends and relatives live, and the state doesn't seem to care if they are hardened criminals. Why even register collectors if you register criminals?" It can be hard to figure out which debt collectors are dishonest and which ones are legitimate. In San Jose, California, KGO-TV reports that Marina Garcia was the victim of a fraudulent debt collector, which cost her great financial hardship.