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How do creditors find your bank accounts to levy?

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Can creditors find your bank accounts? If so, how? I'm sure that if you use a checking account to pay a creditor, then they have that information. But what about other accounts?

I have seen conflicting information on the web. Some say banking info is private, while others say creditors will send letters to all the local banks, looking for a hit. But would a bank really reveal that information in response to a letter? Wouldn't that be almost like giving out info to a phishing attempt?

These days, anybody with a computer can generate a professional-looking letterhead and claim to be Joe Shyster, Attorney at Law, representing Slimeball JDB, which has a judgment against Jane Doe, and asking if Jane Doe has an account at a bank. Wouldn't the bank be risking violations of privacy law, and liability, by revealing that information? At a minimum, wouldn't the bank have to verify that Joe Shyster is really an attorney licensed to practice in the state, that his office is at the address on the letter, that he does in fact represent Slimeball, and that Slimeball really has a judgment against Jane Doe. And what bank would devote the resources to do that simply in response to a letter?

And what about a case like this: Tom A. Smith and Tom B. Smith, father and son, live at the same address and have separate checking accounts at the same bank. The son is the debtor, but the bank releases the father's account info because the lawyer's letter said the judgment was against Tom Smith, 123 Main St. And the father's account gets levied. Wouldn't the father be able to sue the bank?

I know the banks must comply with a court order. But it costs the creditor money to get a court order against a specific bank, so it wouldn't be cost-effective for them to get a court order for every bank in town on the hopes of finding an account.

These are just my speculations. If anybody has accurate information in this regard, please post.

Most banks pull a credit report through one of the major 3 reporting agencies or thru check systems when they open your account. Collection agencies are members of these bureau and when there is an inquiry from one of these bureau they have you. Having worked in collections before, our major source of info was from the state unemployment office for job and the credit bureau for inquiries and accounts.
In fact, credit collectors can put an allert on your credit file so that they are notified anytime there is an inquery. For example, if you move, the apartment complex gets a report. The collection agency sees the inquiry and calls the complex.
You open a new account, the bank pulls a chexsystem report on you. The collection agency then sends the bank interrogatories to find out if you have an account there. If so, the bank fills out the paperwork and sends it back to the court. The creditor then files a garnishment with the court and attaches any funds in the account.
A personal relationship with people at the bank is the best way to guard your funds. If a interrogatory comes your fiend will let you know.

Sub: #1 posted on Tue, 07/19/2011 - 02:53


If your name isn't on the account, they shouldn't be able to touch it.

Sub: #2 posted on Wed, 06/08/2011 - 20:38

OhioGal1 OhioGal1
Moderators Cum Industry Expert
(Posts: 5254 | Credits: 830.46)

Now what if you're married and do not have a checking account? Can a collection agency levy your spouses checking account? I'm a stay at home and do not work. The debt that I have is prior to my marriage. I just closed my out of state banking account because a levy inquiry was put on it- and now the agency won't return my calls for payment plans. So I felt find don't work with me, I'll close the account. I want to go onto my spouses checking account, but don't want that account to be "discovered" and then have a levy inquiry done. It seems that after we filled our taxes - the return was put into my checking, that my checking was levied.

Sub: #3 posted on Wed, 06/08/2011 - 18:28


They cannot touch your pensions or social security.

Sub: #4 posted on Sat, 05/21/2011 - 00:03


A few weeks ago, I made attempts to take care of my delinquent credit card balance. The credit card is named after my banking institution. During the conversation on the phone, the woman who worked for the creditor said, "You have enough money in your account to make the payment and your paying your other credit cards." After I got off the phone, I wondered if the conversation was unethical. Can a creditor tap into my personal account? What are my rights and how do I complain about this situation?

Since it appears your case is currently a matter between you and your creditor they will not be able to use any authority of the court to help them collect from you. They have to file suit to do that and most don't do so immediately although they all have different guidelines it seems and also different rules that may govern depending on the state.

Sub: #5 posted on Thu, 01/13/2011 - 05:33

Gretchen VonDerhoff Gretchen VonDerhoff

(Posts: 259 | Credits: 38.18)

anything in a joint account is fair game.

Social Security Income and Veterans Benefits cannot be seized. Your account CAN BE frozen until such time as you give evidence that the funds are exempt by virtue of their origin being SS and Veterans pay. Finding yourself suddenly seperated from your funds would be most inconvient, I'm sure. If you know a judgment is had against you then you can file documentation with the court evidencing your income is from exempt sources to prohibit any action.

So whether its yours mine or ours if it comes from exempt sources it isn't fair game.

Sub: #6 posted on Thu, 01/13/2011 - 05:27

Gretchen VonDerhoff Gretchen VonDerhoff

(Posts: 259 | Credits: 38.18)


onebigasstruck2 Replied on 05-18-2009, 10:42 PM
Heres ONE, JUST ONE company that can provide CA's and creditors with your bank account info.

That sounds suspiciously like a "plug" / advertisement for a business, and one for a kind of business I'm sure not fond of.

Further, that company, since its a private enterprise, is not singular in its ability, if any, to attain bank information so your post appears to be inaccurate and questionable as to motive.

Sub: #7 posted on Thu, 01/13/2011 - 05:21

Gretchen VonDerhoff Gretchen VonDerhoff

(Posts: 259 | Credits: 38.18)

I was a collector and I would say that line about them "having enough money to pay" even though I didnt have that info. If they didn't disagree with me I knew that it was probably true. However we could look at the credit reports anytime and we would see if you had paid your other credit cards or mortg payment in the last few months.

Sub: #8 posted on Tue, 01/11/2011 - 14:05


Banks very seldom will sue for less than 2500.00. They will write off the debt and the i.r.s. may hit you for taxes on the amount written off.

Sub: #9 posted on Tue, 09/21/2010 - 00:47


I don't know every way they catch you. However, I do know a few: Setup a second chance checking account, with no credit checks. Don't use your debit card for anything (or as little as possible), carry cash instead. Take all most all of your money out of the bank as soon as you get it, if you must use direct deposit keep a hundred dollars or so in the bank.

Don't rent a car with your debit card (you'll get sued within 2 weeks). They have credit cards for people with bad debt. I would suggest you get one and use one only for necessary purposes. If for some reason you do get caught again open up a new checking account. The loss shouldn't be too bad if you follow the above rules.

Now if they levy your account you are in a whole new state of affairs. If you live in the States of: North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas they can't. But they will try anyways especially if you work at a large company with multiple locations.

Sub: #10 posted on Mon, 04/19/2010 - 04:13


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