BOISE — On Sept. 29, the Idaho Department of Finance, along with the Federal Trade Commission and more than 50 federal and state law enforcement partners, announced a nationwide law enforcement and outreach initiative to protect consumers from phantom debt collection and abusive and threatening debt collection practices. The initiative, called Operation Corrupt Collector, includes enforcement actions brought by the FTC, other federal agencies, and 16 different state agencies against debt collectors engaged in these illegal practices.
The operation includes five cases filed by the FTC, two cases filed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and three criminal cases brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. States reporting actions as part of the operation include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, and Washington.
Remaining committed to the enforcement of Idaho’s collection laws, the Department included four cases within the sweep, wherein the Department undertook mediation to resolve instances of abusive debt collection by way of its consumer complaint process.
“At a time when many are under financial stress, our coordinated actions today show that we’re continuing the fight against collectors who threaten people and try to collect debts they don’t owe,” said Patricia R. Perkins, Director.
Perkins also reminds Idahoans that, “Whether you’re a consumer receiving collection calls or a
business attempting to find a third-party debt collector to assist in recovering on overdue accounts, you can always contact the Idaho Department of Finance to determine if a collection agency is licensed or to report unscrupulous and unlicensed collection attempts.” Idaho consumers who believe that a collection agency is in violation of state or federal collection laws may file a complaint with the department at www.finance.idaho.gov or by mail.
Also on its website under “Financial Literacy,” the department provides educational brochures related to the debt collection process. Idahoans may peruse brochure topics that include the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collection Q&A brochure, as well as a sample debt collection response letter. The department also provides a variety of informational brochures on topics such as credit repair, debt settlement, and how to dispute credit reporting errors.