Attorney General Balderas Partners with the Federal Trade Commission to Crackdown on Debt Collectors

For Immediate Release:
September 29, 2020
Contact: Matt Baca — (505) 270-7148

Santa Fe, NM–Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas announced his crackdown on
abusive debt collectors. The announcement is part of a nationwide law enforcement and
outreach initiative to protect consumers from phantom debt collection and abusive and
threatening debt collection practices. New Mexico joins the Federal Trade Commission
and more than 50 federal and state law enforcement partners in this effort. The initiative,
called Operation Corrupt Collector, includes enforcement actions brought by the FTC,
three federal partners, and partners from 16 different states against debt collectors
engaged in these illegal practices.
“I will not tolerate any company coming into New Mexico that abuses and intimidates our
families and consumers,” said Attorney General Balderas. “We always seek to protect
New Mexico consumers and will hold abusive and unconscionable debt collectors
accountable to the laws of New Mexico.”
Attorney General Balderas has filed three separate lawsuits in connection with this
operation against debt collection companies: LVNV Funding, Central Mediation Services
and Capio Partners, LLC. All three suits allege these companies illegally induced
consumers into paying debts by making fraudulent misrepresentations about the debts,
engaging in abusive and predatory practices and in some cases forcing consumers to
pay debts they did not owe. The Attorney General also sent a formal cease and desist
demand to Ability Recovery Services.
In addition to these law enforcement actions, state and local consumer protection
agencies across the country are joining the FTC in rolling out new information to help
consumers know their rights when it comes to debt collection and what steps to take if
they receive a call trying to collect on a debt that they do not recognize. The FTC has also
created a new online dashboard with information about reports received from consumers
on debts not owed and abusive and threatening collection practices. So far in 2020, the
FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network has received more than 85,000 reports from
consumers related to debt collection, and nearly 45 percent of those were related to debts
the consumer did not owe or abusive and threatening practices.
The operation includes five cases filed by the FTC, two cases filed by the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau and three criminal cases brought by the U.S. Department of
Justice and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Other states reporting actions as part of the
operation include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois,
Indiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, New York, Ohio, South Carolina,
and Washington.

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