According to the national news source Governing magazine, Texas is home to nearly 125,000 active-duty military personnel. That large number of men and women who reside in the state while serving their country likely comes as no surprise to most Texans, given the many — and often major — military installations that are interspersed throughout the state.
What is probably equally unsurprising is that this demographical group is a hard-hit target of debt collectors, given some singular vulnerabilities that attach to the military community. Those include frequent changes of station for individuals and families, as well as overseas deployments, which can sometimes create special financial challenges.
Even absent such challenges, disturbing evidence is cropping up to indicate that the harassing tactics of collection agencies preying upon military members now commonly include threatening servicemembers for debt that is actually not owed.
So-called “phantom debt” in fact appears to be a notable problem in the military, with nearly 40 percent of all complaints filed by military members with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau pointing to this illegal collection tactic.
What is especially disturbing is that bad-faith collectors resort to the most sordid of stratagems to procure payment on debts — whether actually owed or not. Tactics targeting military members commonly include threats to contact superiors and claims that nonpayment will result in arrest and potential punishment under military law. Rank reductions, too, are often hinted at.
In addition to being subjected to those harassing behaviors, many military members also suffer from treatment that similarly plagues the civilian community, namely, creditors’ repeated and abusive personal contacts via the phone, mail and online communications.
Being on the receiving end of such behavior is demeaning and frightening, and no person has to put up with it when it strays beyond lawful limits.
Civilians and military members in Texas who are being subjected to harassing collection tactics can obtain immediate relief by contacting a proven state bankruptcy and debt relief attorney.
Source: Army Times, “Consumer watch: Protect yourself from unscrupulous debt collectors,” Karen Jowers, April 2, 2014