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Debt collections insider aims to tackle abuse in the industry

Jun 04, 2011 Mike Garretson

In an effort to reduce debt collection abuse across the country, debt collector and insider Bill Bartmann, CEO of CFS II, took his national "Stop These Criminals" campaign to the nation's capital to present recommendations to help consumers see better credit decisions in the future. Just last week, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin showed her support for stopping abusive debt collectors by signing into law Bartmann's recommended steps for offering additional protection to consumers who are in the midst of delinquent payments on their credit card bills. Across the country, a number of officials are looking to Bartmann to end practices that hinder consumers attempting to dig themselves out of a deep credit hole. According to the Huffington Post, debt collection agencies have started leveraging "outrageous tactics" to receive payments on past due accounts, behaving like "organized crime" members. In her article for the source, reporter Bryce Covert revealed that debt collections have even begun using social media as a channel through which to target consumers who owe money. "One man reported that he checked in at a restaurant on foursquare, tipping the debt collectors off to his location, and they repossessed his car while he ate," Covert wrote for Huffington Post. "They also sign up for accounts on Facebook and friend debtors - and while Brad Klein, president of the Arizona Collector's Association, points out that they can't misrepresent themselves or send messages or comments without violating laws, they use it to find phone numbers and home addresses. Meanwhile, they can send emails without violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act," she added. According to a statement released by Bartmann's campaign, complaints against debt collectors have reached 140,036 - up 17 percent since 2009. Additionally, Covert's article revealed that arrest warrants against debtors have increased by 60 percent over the past four years, with 845 instances in 2009 alone. The Wall Street Journal found that more than one-third of all states allow those borrowers who can't pay or won't pay to be jailed and that more than 5,000 warrants have been signed off on since 2010 in nine counties with populations of 13.6 million people each. Sometimes, people are jailed for owing as little as $85, making it difficult for police to crack down on hard crimes.