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A creditor is threatening me with what I believe are false claims. Even if they're true, they are not legal, so what can he do?

New York, NY |

It's for less than $ 650 , and he claims he has my soc . sec # , which he couldn't have obtained legally . He says he can put a lien on my bank account and take my assets . I don't believe it , but I don't know what kind of underhanded things recovery guys can do . But he won't show proof of a judgment against me , and I know that this judgment he claims he has does not exist . Are these empty threats ? How mush damage can be done with a SS # and possibly an illegal or no judgment ? He doesn't have my current address & doesn't know what state I'm in yet , but says he will find me . Is this possible ?

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

If there is a judgment, the creditor may do everything "threatened" and then some. It's certainly possible to find anyone and their SS# as well as many of their assets. If there is no judgment, then it is likely they are in fact threatening you to scare you into paying.

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Asker

Posted

I recently looked at my credit report and there are NO judgements listed against me. Could there be one that isn't listed? wouldn't it have to be listed? Wouldn't I have to be notified of this if it were true? Beyond that, the "judgement" would have been illegal in the first place, as NYC small claims court states that in order to even file against someone, they must live or work in NY, or have a business there. At the time of the filing I was a NH resident. I believe he may have lied to the NY court and given my old address. But there is no proof of any judgement anywhere that i have seen, and when asked to produce the proof, this creditor said he would not do so.

Mitchell Aaron Nathanson

Mitchell Aaron Nathanson

Posted

Credit Reports are not any authorization and typically do not report history beyond seven years. I don't see any benefit to a creditor in NOT producing a judgment, so that says something.

Asker

Posted

Thank you. Now how can I find out definitively if there is a judgement against me? Is there a public record to look up or someone to call?

Mitchell Aaron Nathanson

Mitchell Aaron Nathanson

Posted

Practically impossible, as you have no idea which court the judgment would have been entered if you suspect that it was not legitimate. If it was a legitimate judgment, you can check with the clerk in each jurisdiction where you have lived for the last 20 years.

Posted

Many debt collectors use fear to try and collect money. Why? Because it works--people who are scared will often pay just to get rid of the nasty person on the telephone. It looks like you may have one of these types of collectors. If a debt collector has a valid judgment against you it may legally freeze your bank account, garnish non-exempt wages and levy on your real estate. If the debt collector does not have a judgment, none of these threats can be carried out until it obtains a judgment.

How do you find out if you have a valid judgment? Go to your local court clerk's office and see if one was filed against you. If nothing comes up, also pull your credit reports (all three) at the following website:

www.annualcreditreport.com

See if your credit reports list a judgment. If nothing comes up from these sources it is likely that you do not have a judgment and this debt collector may be violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and you will want to contact an attorney experienced in handling these lawsuits.

Good luck,

No attorney client relationship has been created by this answer.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you!!! That was very helpful.

Asker

Posted

I took your advice and called the small claims office and they do, in fact, have a judgement against me. I can prove that it was obtained illegally, though. I want to fight it and get my name cleared, but I don't live in NY anymore. I will be there next week and hopefully I can work something out while I'm there, but I have two issues: 1. If they reopen the case, I will not be available to show up for a hearing. It doesn't seem right to me that the reason the judgement is illegal (I am no longer a NY resident, and had not been one for months before he filed against me, which is against the NY small claims regulations) is the same reason that I could get stuck having to pay this guy money I don't owe...bc I am not close enough to the location to see the proceedings through. It feels completely unjust. 2. I am worried that while I'm trying to clear my name, my bank account could be frozen. I have no idea how long it takes to get a lien. I imagine it would be a few weeks at least, but since I have not been in a similar situation before, I really have no idea. If I wait a week or two to try to fight this, is my bank account safe? The first call I got from this guy was about a week ago. Thank you.

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