For the last three years, complaints about debt collections and their tactics have been the number one source of complaints to the Federal Trade Commission. In the first half of 2010, the FTC received over 65,000 complaints from consumers.
"There is this huge amount of debt moving through the system," said the FTC's director of Consumer Protection, David Vladeck. "There's no question that there are serious abuses taking place in this industry," he told ABC News.
Vladeck said the FTC had a number of "active investigations" underway into the tactics of major debt collection agencies.
"The kinds of complaints we're getting now, abuse of language, harassing phone calls, we're getting more of those and they're deeply disturbing," said Vladeck.