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Debt Collector Harassment: Coming to a Library Near You

A bizarre story from the burgeoning debt collection industry.

Since last November, the Tompkins County Public Library in Ithaca, N.Y. has received a "cease and desist" order from an attorney general or a lawyer in some faraway state every few days. All the letters said basically same thing: Stop your harassment.

"It just became overwhelming," library director Janet Steiner told the Huffington Post. "I have no idea why they chose us."

Apparently a debt collector had been giving the library's address to people from whom it was aggressively trying to recover debt, and those people were handing the address over to their lawyers and local prosecutors.

Call legal threats to your local library a peculiar byproduct of the nationwide economic crisis and a burgeoning debt collection industry. In 2005, debt collectors recovered $51.4 billion nationwide. Two years later, that figure reached $57.9 billion, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers for ACA International, a trade group for the debt industry.

"The story in the industry is that there's more and more debt available. The problem is, it's harder and harder to collect," said ACA spokesman John Nemo in an interview with the Huffington Post.

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