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CFPB raises flag on debt collectors going after service people

Life in the military, regardless of the branch, is no picnic. The service is tough for the volunteers who enlist. It can be equally hard on the loved ones they have to leave behind in Illinois or any other part of the U.S. if and when they deploy.

Serving in uniform can have some perks, but they tend not to completely offset the challenges of military life. And, of course, when soldiers and sailors and airmen and women return stateside and go off active duty, they can face the same difficulties as any American consumer. Dealing with debt collectors, especially those who use abusive collection tactics is not something they should have to face, but many do.

In fact, according to a recent report by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, people in the military or just released are nearly twice as likely as the general population to file debt collection complaints. The report says 46 percent of all the complaints the CFPB received from military folks in 2015 were about debt collecting.

A good number of those complaints were related to medical bills that should have been paid by any of the various government health insurance programs that are supposed to cover active military and veterans. Other complaints had to do with mortgages or credit reports.

Representatives for the collection industry question the validity of the report. They say there is room for improvement in how the industry operations, but they say the CFPB report has holes, including the fact that information has been released before the agency has even verified the claims.

That may be true, but what is also true is that pressure is pressure, whether it's used to collect a bill that's legitimate or one that is not. And there are certain collection tactics that are illegal.

Body armor won't protect you from those assaults, but you can learn what your options for relief are by speaking with an experienced attorney.

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