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

  • December 04 Chicago Public Schools has dismissed hundreds of employees, coaches, vendors, and volunteers based on background check findings. The district recently vowed to re-check the majority of its 68,000 employees after a Chicago Tribune investigation revealed holes in its background check policies.
  • November 29 Striving to create a safer environment more conducive to productive training and leadership development, the Army has recently moved to adopt a uniform policy of background checks for certain roles. 
  • November 27 California’s biggest public school district is waiving the cost of volunteer background checks. The move is meant to encourage more family - and community members to get involved with the school district.
  • November 22 Contractors play an important role in the workforce, delivering services to both individuals and organizations. Vetting contractors for suitability continues to be a challenge, as two recent articles prove.
  • November 21 When it comes to background and pre-employment checks, it can be instructive to look at the characteristics of the ten most massive U.S. employers.
  • November 20 The #MeToo movement is bringing about legislative changes employers need to know about. We review some of the laws recently passed in California.
  • November 19

    Will a criminal conviction show up on your background check forever? In most states, there is a year limit for how long background check companies can report older criminal information.

  • November 15

    Replacing an inconsistent array of procedures, Ontario's government has passed into law a reform act intended to clarify how police departments should handle requests for information to be used in background checks. 

  • November 14 The federal government has vowed to cut its backlog of security clearance background checks in half by spring. Currently, the backlog is approximately 600,000 names strong.
  • November 12 To ensure the best hires, DFWSPF has implemented a stringent employee screening process—one that includes background searches through