Debt Collection Agencies Hired Criminals to Go After Their Debtors

By Michael Klazema on 4/9/2012

As if it’s not bad enough to be harassed by collection agencies when a consumer does not have the money to pay, imagine if those companies hired felons who not only harassed consumers, but also stole their information.  Unfortunately, Minnesota consumers don’t have to imagine this, because it’s a reality.  Regulators found six separate debt collection agencies who had hired “dozens and dozens” of felons to carry out collections.  As it turns out, these felons participated in unlawful harassment of consumers and then stole financial information, making the financial situation of the consumers in question much worse than they already were.  Investigative reporters found approximately 743 criminals working as debt collectors in Minnesota alone, all working for agencies who had failed to carry out state required background checks.  The companies will be paying about $900,000 in fines and promises to make the appropriate corrections to their hiring procedures.

Whether these companies were trying to save time or money is unclear.  What is clear is that they would have avoided almost a million dollars in fines simply by following regulations.  While by paying the fines, the companies do not have to admit their guilt, they do have to shape up operations going forward.  This means consumers will not know whether the hiring of felons was intentional or not, but due to the increase in debt and the rising aggression with which credit collection agencies are going after debtors, the agencies might have been trying to hire more intimidating personnel.  Unfortunately, this also meant hiring someone willing to commit yet another crime.

The Federal Trade Commission does not have an exact number of felons currently working for these companies, nor do they know exactly how many consumers were affected by the breach.  It is likely they will be keeping a much closer eye on these and similar companies in order to prevent further financial crimes.  The affected companies will need to beef up hiring protocol by requiring all hires to go through strict screening processes.  They will need to check national databases like US OneSEARCH and US AliasSEARCH for criminal records for both new hires and current employees, in order to rid their company of any potential security threats.  Fortunately, there are many background checking companies out there who can help make this process as fast as possible.

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) - serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies by providing comprehensive screening services.  Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an Eastern Operations Center in Chapin, S.C., is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit



Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • March 15 As more states legalize the recreational use of cannabis, they contend with the emergence of new industries surrounding marijuana cultivation and production. 
  • March 14 In most cases, it is easy to determine where an issue might show up on a pre-employment background check. Citations for traffic violations or reckless driving charges will appear on a motor vehicle record check. Verdicts in a civil court case will show on a civil court background check. And criminal convictions—from petty theft to violent felonies—show up on criminal background checks.
  • March 13 How many years back do employment background checks go? This question can have multiple different answers depending on the situation.
  • March 13 A new bill in Florida would require landlords of apartment complexes to present tenants with verifications of employee background checks to give them peace of mind the people working in and around their homes are trustworthy.
  • March 08 Police officers working with the University of Texas at Arlington recently arrested a man who had avoided police capture on a warrant out of Oregon for nearly two decades. The man, whose real name is Daniel Charles Ray Hanson, spent those 17 years using a variety of fake names and identification documents to move around the country, often engaging with educational institutions under false pretenses. Police say Hanson regularly went by at least three different aliases. He sports a rap sheet that stretches back to an arson conviction in 1995. 
  • March 07

    The Future of EEOC Guidance in Texas Is Up in the Air

    The EEOC issued guidance in 2012 warning employers about the dangers of enforcing categorical policies to bar candidates with criminal histories. That guidance is not enforceable in Texas thanks to a recent court ruling.

  • March 05 Vermont is the latest state to restrict employers’ access to and use of social media accounts of employees and applicants. 
  • March 01 In an age of "industry disruptors" turning established business models on their heads, companies such as Uber and Lyft rely on a unique workforce of individuals outside the traditional employer-employee context. Uber calls them "partners" while other businesses refer to them as "independent contractors," the official classification these individuals use for tax purposes. Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) revealed they had warned a business, Postmates, for misclassifying their staff as independent contractors. In the NLRB's determination, these individuals were employees.
  • February 27 Governor Asa Hutchinson signed House Bill 2216 which amends the employer’s directives regarding a current or prospective employee’s social media account.
  • February 23 A Texas summer camp is in the spotlight after an unflattering investigation from a local news channel. The case has some parents asking what they can do to vet summer camp programs before enrolling their kids.