Debt buyers hound, harass, and defraud people who may never have owed a dime to begin with, according to an alarming exposé in the Star Tribune.
Firms with little known names, like LVNV Funding and Unifund CCR Partners, buy massive databases of unpaid debts for cents on the dollar, and then inundate courts with legal actions seeking to collect the full amount, plus interest and fees. These firms, known as debt buyers, base their claims on data up to 15 years old that can be impossible to verify.
The National Consumer Law Center, an advocacy group for low-income Americans, estimates that one in 10 debt-buyer lawsuits nationwide is based on inaccurate information. Bank accounts have been tapped, wages seized and people threatened with arrest for debts they don't owe or for inflated amounts.