Have you been called by a debt collector? The ABC15 Investigators get calls and e-mails from a number of people who say they've had bad experiences with collectors.
Laura lives in Peoria. She got a call from a person who said she owed a debt. He threatened her with jail time if she didn't pay.
Well, first of all, you won't go to jail for not paying a debt. There are no debtor's prisons here.
It's also illegal for these collectors to even threaten it.
But this debt collector went further.
Laura says he asked if she had a gun in the house. And he asked if there was anyone who could take her children because they were going to arrest her if she didn't pay.
Laura admits owing a payday loan from many years ago and wanted to pay it. But she wasn't sure this was it.
So she paid the collector $325 and got an email confirmation. Four months later, she gets a call from a different collector.
Laura says the company knew her full Social Security number, drivers license number, birthday, address and her mom's address
This collector said it was a different debt. He threatened jail time again. So Laura paid $350 to this person.
But when she got the confirmation, she found it was the same account number she thought she paid off the first time.
She did get her money back. She called the original payday lender she owed, who said they charged off the debt years ago and got none of the recent payment.
Laura is warning everyone about the calls.
There are some decent debt collectors just doing their job.
But remember, if you get a similar call, don't fall for the jail threat, do write them to stop calling you and demand accounts, names and amounts owed before paying anything.
The Federal Trade Commission has warnings about what debt collectors can and can't do.