Lisa Madigan (D)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline)-Complaints about mortgage-related issues topped the Illinois attorney general's list of consumer grievances last year.

Nearly 4,000 homeowners filed mortgage-related complaints in 2009, marking a 65 percent increase from a year earlier, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a Democrat, said.

"These numbers demonstrate how this economic crisis is hitting home for tens of thousands of Illinois families," Madigan said. "Hardworking people are struggling to make their mortgage payments on time. They're fighting to cope with mounting debts, and they're being targeted by con artists looking to make a quick buck. This is a challenging time, and I urge anyone who is struggling to make ends meet to contact my office to make sure that they do not become victims of fraud."

In all, Madigan's office said it received 31,264 consumer complaint filings last year.

Of them, more than 1,300 complaints were against debt collectors.

They included complaints that agencies started collection efforts without allegedly verifying that the consumer actually owed the debt, attempted to collect a debt from the wrong person and used abusive tactics such as making calls to a consumer's workplace or using threatening language, the attorney general's office said.

Since 2008, Madigan's office said complaints about consumer debt has grown more than 16 percent.

It's "a reflection of the increasingly dire financial constraints people in Illinois are experiencing during the economic downturn," a statement said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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