Increase seen in debt collection calls, consumer complaints

Increase seen in debt collection calls, consumer complaints With the economy still struggling somewhat, officials in some parts of the country say residents are seeing a higher number of debt collection agencies, some of them using aggressive tactics.

In the state of Idaho, the number of agencies has grown 20 percent over the past few years, the Idaho Statesman reports. There are now more than 600 debt collection agencies operating in the area. However, some consumers have complained of illegal harassing behavior as they try to get out of debt.

"It's always our highest area of (complaint) calls we receive," Mike Larsen, head of consumer finance at the Idaho Department of Finance, told the paper.

Officials told the paper that they do have the power to take away a debt collector's license if they violate the law in trying to collect debt, but that's a power that isn't used very frequently. Most of the department's actions involve cracking down on companies without a license.

Similar issues have been seen across the country. A group of unlicensed debt collection agencies are the focus of a serious of lawsuits in South Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reports.