(CBS) — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is joining the Federal Trade Commission and other local law enforcement agencies in a crackdown on illegally aggressive debt collection services, reports WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore.

In Washington D.C., FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez announced 30 enforcement actions nationwide against debt collectors who use illegal tactics like harassing phone calls and false threats of court action.
“Last year alone, consumers filed over 280,000 complaints with federal authorities related to debt collection,” Ramirez said.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says some of those companies pursued so-called zombie or phantom debt that was either paid off already or never owed in the first place.

“What happens in these circumstances is you have scam operations that are collecting fake debts that consumers do not owe and they do it through threatening and harassing individuals into eventually paying money that they don’t owe,” Madigan said.

She said the pressure tactics are that harsh.