Debt collectors are the leading cause of complaints by the elderly to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Prominent among the grievances are accusations the firms are trying to garnish seniors' Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and federal Veterans benefits though that is prohibited by law, the CFPB said in a report Wednesday.

Seniors also regularly protested collectors’ repeated attempts to collect debts of deceased family members.

“Many of the consumers complained that debt collectors continue to call or send collection letters after they have informed debt collectors that they are not personally responsible for the debt, or that there is no money left in the deceased borrower’s estate,” said the CFPB.

The agency noted some collection attempts were made years after probate was finished.
Some of the worst practices cited in the study, were reports by older consumers of debt collectors threatening to arrest them at work or in front of their family members and send them to jail.