May 14 2010, 8:33 AM
Denver might have the nation's third-strongest economy, behind the Seattle and Washington, D.C., metro areas, but the Mile High City also ranks third on a less desirable list: the most debt-burdened cities in America. The data, released by the Experian credit reporting agency, concluded that only Seattle and Dallas rank higher. Only a couple hundred dollars separated the top three, all of which have an average personal consumer debt of more than $26,000, according to the Denver Business Journal. Debt for the study was calculated using credit cards, auto loans, and personal loans, but did not include mortgages. Debt can lead to problems for some people and, eventually, the dreaded debt collectors. Denver's Better Business Bureau reports a 131 percent increase in complaints this year about scammers who call to say they are collecting debts and then threaten consumers with credit damage, lawsuits, or even arrest, according to Boulder's Daily Camera. "We don't want consumers to fall for scare tactics. Some of these practices are downright illegal," says Dale Mingilton, president and CEO of the BBB serving Denver/Boulder. "Consumers need to verify debts and know their rights before making any payment."