A recent story published by media in Houston stated that a Texas man had been arrested for failing to pay his student loan debts. In fact, the man, Paul Aker, was arrested for failing to appear in court.

Aker also had informed Houston reporters that he hadn’t received any notifications about his debt in years but court records dating to 2007 confirm that Aker had been contacted about the debt and a default judgment was entered for $2,709.47. Aker’s claims in the story of being arrested for not paying his debts went viral. Collections & Credit Risk did not publish his now debunked claims.

Richard Hunter, chief deputy U.S. marshal for the southern district of Texas, told The Washington Post that it is not a priority for U.S. marshals to arrest student loan violators and that borrowers can prevent a similar situation by keeping open lines of communication with student loan collectors.

“If you have a loan that you’re behind on, call the Department of Education and get a deferment or request a payment plan. If you have received a court summons, by all means communicate with the court. If you choose not to, at some point the federal judge handling your matter may order the U.S. marshals to bring you to court,” he said.

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