Debt buyers purchase old debts from creditors for pennies on the dollar and then hire debt collectors or attorneys to force consumers to pay up, often by suing them in court. Recent enforcement actions by state and federal regulators show widespread abuse and improper lawsuits brought to try to collect the old debt. Abuses include things like robo-signing affidavits in support of collection lawsuits and illegally suing residents for time-barred debt.