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August 22, 2014

On the advice of our attorney

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan was in town Tuesday, warning students about student loan debt scammers and the rest of us about how pervasive identity theft is becoming — oh, and about the $992 million her office brought back to Illinois consumers and taxpayers (please vote for me, thank you very much).

She said her office handles 200,000 complaints a year, so they get an early view of how consumers are being targeted. We weren’t surprised that identity theft is rapidly growing — just read the headlines about hackers targeting everything from our grocery store purchases to our medical records.

She caught our interest when she said student loan debt is now outpacing consumer debt. With 7 million out of 40 million student loans in default, the same sharks who went after underwater homeowners are now circling student loan debtors.

The ads to cut student debt in half typically are from people charging $1,200, or as much as they can get. The scammers then do nothing, or just fill out a form online for debt consolidation that the student could have filled out for free.

So far Madigan has sued two companies, and 12 more are being investigated that she expects will result in lawsuits.

Madigan is currently defending the partial pension reform crafted by her father, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

She was pretty blunt about the state pension crisis: “I am hopeful that they will reform the pension system so that it can be an ongoing concern where people actually get their pensions as opposed to putting the state in a circumstance that makes it not only impossible to pay those pensions but an undesirable place for people to continue to live and work.”

“Undesirable.” Did you hear that, pop?

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