Gripes about debt collectors are the most common complaint filed by older Americans, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Collection gripes are roughly 1 out of every 3 complaints the bureau gets from seniors. Confusion over medical bills, attempts to collect debts of deceased family members, and illegal threats of garnishing federal benefits like Social Security top the list.
“It is increasingly common for older Americans to carry debts into their retirement years, and consumers living on fixed incomes often struggle to pay off these debts,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. Unprofessional collectors badger consumers who are in the middle of red-tape wrestling with healthcare providers or bring up bad memories of lost loved ones whose debts should have died with them. Among the complaints, the CFPB received:
If a debt collector is badgering you or a family member, the CFPB offers sample letters for older adults who feel like they are being harassed. When an account goes to collections, it can dramatically lower your credit score so it’s important to spot a collection account by monitoring your credit scores regularly. You can get your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.