Illinois is participating in a nationwide crackdown on debt collectors who harass and threaten people who may not even owe them money.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan spoke at the Washington, D.C. event announcing this new effort led by the Federal Trade Commission.
Madigan said most of the debt collecting complaints her office receives deal with not with regular debt collectors, but rather with scammers trying to get people to pay off so-called "phantom debt."
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"When we start to see the growing number of calls, it actually is coming from individuals who do not owe debt," Madigan said. "They don't owe debt either because they've already paid off their debt or because they never had it in the first place."
Among the 30 actions taken nationwide as part of this crackdown was shutting down a scheme based in Aurora, where a couple threatened people to pay off payday loan debts which they may not have owed. They've agreed to a $6.4 million settlement which includes a ban on them being involved in debt collection.