Audit Notes: Debt Collector Scams, Occupy Oakland Coverage, Jest

The Washington Post reports on two FTC complaints against California debt collector companies, which “highlight an increase in complaints about the debt-collection industry as the economy has soured. Consumers lodged about 140,000 complaints with the FTC about debt collectors last year, more than any other industry, according to federal data.”

A few weeks ago, the FTC alleged that Rumson, Bolling & Associates in Van Nuys harassed a woman who was unable to fully pay for her daughter’s funeral. In telephone calls, the firm’s employees told her they would dig up her daughter’s body and hang it from a tree if she did not pay, the federal complaint said. They threatened to shoot and eat her dog. And they called her “white trash,” according to the complaint.

At least two funeral homes were among Rumson’s clients. Rumson pursued a woman who was late on payments to one of them after her sons died within a week of each other, the FTC said. The defendants “called her a ‘deadbeat’ and asked how she would feel if her son’s body was dug up and dropped outside her door,” the FTC said.

Often the threatened people didn’t actually owe money.

Washington City Paper catches the Washington Post redfaced on its coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

The Post ran a picture of an Oakland police officer petting a kitten down by the Occupy protest there. Unfortunately, the picture ran the morning after Oakland cops did this:


City Paper writes:

Note: The digital edition coverage is better.

— This short Jest video on “Where Occupy Wall Street Headlines Come From” is worth a chuckle or two.

The Huffington Post and New Yorker spoofs are particularly good:

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,