More than one-in-four of U.S. consumers contacted by debt collectors say they felt threatened by the encounter, a new government study shows.
Additionally, more than 40% of consumers who said they were approached about a debt in collection asked the creditor or collector to stop the contacts, according to the study issued Thursday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Three-in-four from that group said their requests went unheeded.
The study also found that many lists of debts sold in online marketplaces to would-be collection companies include unencrypted Social Security numbers, birth dates and other sensitive personal information of the purported debtors. Available to anyone who visits the websites, that data could be used for identity theft.
The CFPB said the study expands public understanding of debt collection in the U.S. by providing the first comprehensive and nationally representative data on consumers