Ignoring phone calls and mailed notices from bill collectors could land you in jail. Debt collectors are turning to the legal system for help collecting their money, even though it's illegal in Illinois. Collection agencies are filing more and more lawsuits but the problem is the debtors aren't being notified that they need to appear in court over the dispute, so when they miss a court date, a warrant is issued for their arrest.
Kevin Kelly with the Illinois Creditors Bar Association says creditor's only file lawsuits in extreme cases. He says for the most part they're willing to work with debtors but when their efforts come up short, they turn to the legal system. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is fighting the creditors' efforts to put people behind bars. She's sued six creditors in recent years for abusing the law.