Can You Check Bank Accounts and Credit Reports on Your Judgment Debtor?

Yes, but there are things you should know…

Once you are awarded a judgment there are steps to take in getting your money.  Locating your debtor’s bank and going ahead with putting a levy on their bank account is a possibility.  Or perhaps you want to check their credit report to see what other debts or new revolving credits they may have.  It is important to know what rights you and your debtor have by law.

When identifying banking relationships, under no circumstances can you lie to gain access to financial information.  The Gramm- Leach- Bliley Act prohibits making false, fictitious or fraudulent statements to a financial institution in order to obtain (including attempt to obtain) someone’s financial information. 

Some investigating can identify the debtor’s bank and once you have that information, you may file a writ of execution with the court.  From there a levy may be placed on the debtor’s bank account and your judgment can be enforced.

When identifying credit information under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), there are limits on how you can communicate regarding the debt / debtor. Whereas it is prohibited to communicate with outside parties about debt, it is allowed as long as it is in effectuating a post judgment judicial remedy.

As stated in Title VIII, Section 805(b) of FDCPA-

COMMUNICATION WITH THIRD PARTIES. Except as provided in section 804, without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector, or the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, or as reasonably necessary to effectuate a post judgment judicial remedy,  a debt collector may not communicate in connection with the collection of any debt, with any person other than a consumer, his attorney, a consumer reporting agency if otherwise permitted by laws, the creditor, the attorney of the creditor or the attorney of the debt collector.

Post- judgment recovery differs by state and while it is important to familiarize yourself with federal laws, make sure you also abide by the state laws.  Both state and federal laws can be difficult to fully comprehend and it is imperative to do as much as legally permitted in collecting your judgment.

For most efficiency and effectiveness consult a professional.  Navigating the laws and regulations can be very confusing and get in the way of the real goal, getting your judgment.  It is always better to hire help and recover most of your judgment, rather than none.

For further information on bank, credit and asset searches contact Jennifer Mannino at jmannino@subrosapi.com.

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