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Debt collection a big consumer complaint in 2015

Each year, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance's Division of Consumer Affairs gathers information about consumer complaints. Of the more than 4,000 complaints that were received in 2015, 293 of them related to debt collection, making this the third biggest category of complaints. Consumers reported being harassed by phone calls from debt collection agencies and being called repeatedly concerning matters where they were not the debtor the agency was looking for.

The Division of Consumer Affairs also received 181 complaints regarding scams. According to WATE Knoxville, consumers should be warned about the types of scams most frequently reported in 2015. Consumers may be targeted by mail, email or by telephone. Scammers will often use deceptive tactics to get consumers to send money or reveal sensitive personal financial information. Some of the communications may seem legitimate and scammers will often try to trick consumers into making decisions quickly.

The debt collection scams reported often involved phone calls or letters from someone claiming that an individual has an outstanding debt. He or she may tell the person that if a payment is not made, that person's wages will be garnished or the person will end up being sued or even arrested. Caller ID numbers are often faked and fake letterhead is often used to make it appear as if the notice is coming from a law enforcement agency.

A legitimate debt collector is requried to abide by certain regulations. If someone suspects that they are the victim of a debt collection scam, he or she should report the suspicious activity to the proper governmental authority.

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