Martha Baffour's day often began with a ringing phone and a demand for money.

The voices from strange area codes and 800 numbers were sometimes friendly; they would address Baffour by name and ask her how she was doing. At other times, the debt collectors took a tougher approach.

"This is your debt. No one told you to get these credit cards," Baffour, of Frederick, said they would tell her.

"I don't have it right now. I can't settle something with you," she would say.

Exasperated, she sometimes replied, "What do you want me to do, rob a bank?"

Recent years have been a struggle for Baffour and her family. At one point, her husband was out of work, and once-manageable credit card payments piled up and became overwhelming.

For a stretch of months from 2009 to 2010, the calls from collectors flooded her home, work and family members.

Things got even worse when she received a summons notifying her that a company was taking her to court for a debt she believed she had settled years before. According to the notice, she owed the company more than $10,000 for charges -- plus interest and fees -- she had made on a Target credit card in 2003.

"I didn't know what to do," she said.

Baffour is not alone in her feeling of powerlessness against the debt industry.

 Read more at the Frederick News Post: http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?storyid=129379