Editor’s Note: 

Today we are running the fourth segment of the 15-part series on college-student-loan debt.  (Thank you to onlinecolleges.net for putting this together.)

Government debt collectors can seize almost any kind of asset.

Perhaps one of the scariest aspects of government debt collection is the tools it can use to recoup debts, far beyond what any private lenders have at their disposal. The federal government can seize tax refunds, garnish paychecks, and even tap into Social Security payments. Even worse, these tactics can affect others besides the debtor, as joint tax returns and social security benefits of co-signers are all fair game for the government.