According the Federal Trade Commission, 140,000 complaints were made about debt collectors in 2010, the Journal Gazette reports. In addition, the frequency of robo-calls has become a "serious consumer problem," according to federal state officials.
Author Philip Mathias cites a personal example in the National Post, detailing how he put his phone number on a "do not call" list after receiving numerous phone calls from Norwegian debt collection
company Aktiv Kapital regarding non-existent debt he was told he owed. However, Mathias received robo-calls for an additional month following his request. According to the Gazette, an erroneous debt collection call can occasionally be placed due to mistaken identity, and a person can provide positive identity verification to avoid future calls. Other times, agencies may have more sinister motives. "Debt collection fraud has always been there … but it seems like it's hot right now," Joanne McNabb, chief of the California Office of Privacy Protection, told the news source. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act prevents companies from making contact with consumers using an "automatic telephone dialing system," InsideARM notes. However, companies that use predictive dialing technology are exempt if they use the automation responsibly.