They’re like hornets or yellow jackets, buzzing around unwanted and uninvited, stinging unmercifully when given the chance.

Enter the debt collector, a veritable scourge to millions of Americans across the country, with Mississippians not being excepted. Although, indeed, there are legitimate debt collection agencies operating throughout the United States, the industry as a whole undeniably has image problems, driven by a host of bad actors.

Those actors are put under a spotlight in a recent media article that focuses most centrally on the manner in which unprincipled debt collectors prey upon military members.

It is not a pretty picture, with the Army Times noting that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is receiving thousands of complaints from veterans and their family members regarding harassing debt collection tactics.

That is truly unfortunate, with unscrupulous industry behavior affecting troops everywhere, including in Mississippi, where myriad military installations are located and many thousands of active duty service members serve their country.

The collection strategies employed against servicemembers echo those that are used in targeting civilians, including aggressive and repeated personal contacts, threats of arrest and litigation, calls to employers and other harassing behaviors. In some instances, too, military members have been threatened with demotions in rank and revocation of security clearances.

Unlawful credit collection behavior that targets military service members can be responded to effectively in the same manner that it is in the civilian world.

That means this: securing a proven bankruptcy and debt relief attorney to intercede promptly and forcefully with harassing individuals and companies.

Filing for bankruptcy, for example, results in an automatic stay on contacts made by creditors. Failure to abide by the stay can result in fines and other penalties.

No person needs to suffer from frightening and persistent debt-related communications from debt collectors, many of whom act unlawfully in the course of their business. There is a remedy, and many people across the country have availed themselves of it.

Source: Army Times, “Consumer watch: Protect yourself from unscrupulous collectors,” Karen Jowers, April 2, 2014

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