June 24, 2024
The first-person story of a veteran’s debt collection experience – and the legal assistance that helped him recover.

To learn more about fraud and how it affects military families visit: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0009-military-families
After 9/11, I knew I wanted to serve. And I served my four years in the US Army. I did a year and a half in Iraq as a forward observer for US artillery. I loved every one of the soldiers I served with there, still do. And it’s carried on to what I do now as a Veteran of Foreign Wars service officer helping me fellow vets.

When I got out of the military, it was chaos. I worked two jobs at a time just to support myself. I was moving from place to place every year, until I put my act together to go back to college to get my associates degree. That was around the time when I would start getting debt collection calls from third parties that I did not recognize.

Bryan came to us after he was served with a summons for court. A third party debt collector was pursuing him for an old debt that he didn’t recognize what the debt was for. And a third party debt collector is when a company decides they can’t collect the debt and they write it off on their taxes. And then they sell it to another multi-million dollar company for cents on the dollar, and then that other company tries to collect that debt.

Working with Bryan, we were able to determine that they weren’t able to provide the evidence sufficient to prove the case. Just by asking them to try to prove it, they weren’t able to do that. And we were able to get the case dismissed.

Scammers see veterans as targets. If you’re receiving these harassing debt collection calls, don’t feel like you’ve been pushed in a corner. Don’t isolate. There are services out there.

We often tell veterans to request proof of the debt. This is called a validation letter.

We would suggest that people, if they’re getting contacted by debt collectors, to not ignore it and look into the resources available through agencies such as the FTC.

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