Announcement

Collapse

Forum Rules (Everyone Must Read!!!) (updated: 04/28/2015)

Welcome to the Bankruptcy Forum. Bankruptcy (BK) Forum is known as BKForum.com and will be referred to as BKF hereinafter. In order to ensure a long term success of our vibrant community, we have established certain rules and guidelines to which everyone must adhere to. Please take your time to carefully read our rules, before you start to participate in the community.

Things you agree to do:
BKFORUM.com (BKF) users agree to use the search function before starting a new thread. This prevents duplicate discussions and allows for better organized topics.

All BKF users agree to read the sticky posts which may be available at the top of a forum page. These Sticky posts often contain valuable information. They may also outline more rules and guidelines specific for that particular forum, stickies are put in place by that forums moderator(s) or admin(s).

Things you agree not to do:

All BKF users agree not to call people names or write a post simply to make a personal attack, or get a negative reaction; this behavior is not allowed on our forum. The use of derogatory language aimed at anyone will be severely dealt with. There is no need to agree with each other, or to even like each other. However, by signing onto BKForum.com you agree to treat each member and guest with the respect they deserve. No threats or personal attacks will be allowed.

All BKF users agree not to discuss, engage, or encourage any behavior or activity which violates the law. Discussion of drugs, violence, murder, theft, vandalism, fraud or any other issue which could be used to help individuals break the law is strictly forbidden.

All BKF users agree not to "bump" old threads, unless there is a specific benefit to the community by doing so. But in most cases, please don't post in very old threads, instead start new threads.

All BKF users agree not to attempt/use another members account. It is against BKF rules to use any account other than your own. Impersonating another member will result in an immediate ban. It is also against the rules to open more than one account in your own name without permission from a moderator or administrator. If you have been banned for any reason, it is against the rules to open another account. If you were banned temporarily and you are caught using another account you will be banned permanently. Choosing a moniker which is similar in either sound or spelling as a moderator or administrator is strictly forbidden.

All BKF users agree not to private message any moderator, admin, or other member with questions related to their personal circumstances (Questions about the forum or issues with the forum are ok). This forum only works when members share their experience and insights with everyone.

Things you agree not to post:
All BKF users agree not to post any derogatory/racist/or sexist remarks. This includes attachments, links and all information contained within posts, signatures, and avatars, failure to comply with this rule will result in a permanent ban.

All BKF users agree not to post any copyrighted or trademarked information without the express written permission of the owner(s) / proper citation of source.

All BKF users agree not to post any real names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, social security numbers, or any other personal details (their own or other people's).

All BKF users agree not to post links, pictures, attachments, videos, or the like of pornographic content, objectionable material or extreme violence, whether cartoon or real.

All BKF users agree not to use BKF for advertising purposes without a written contract between yourself/company/agent and the administration of BKF. Blatant advertising will result in a ban.

All BKF users agree not to spam the forums. Spam includes but is not limited to posting erroneous, non-relevant-useless, off-topic, or meaningless posts. Spam may also include posts which contain no text, or large areas of blank space between lines. Simply posting emoticons without text is considered spam. BKF is the largest bankruptcy message board and all the content is intended to help other users. Please help us improve the quality of our forum by making sure that your posts are well-worded, spell checked, grammatically correct and syntaxed.

Regarding actions of moderators and administrators:

The forum is no place to air out your opinion or be judgmental of our staff and its capabilities.

All BKF users agree not to abuse or mistreat moderators or administrators. It is against BKF rules to post any information regarding bans or any other action taken by a member of the moderating or administrative team. If you wish to discuss bans or warnings please do so via PM. To place a complaint against a moderator, send a PM to a super moderator. All Moderators are equal, any decision made by a moderator must be adhered to. If a moderator tells you something you do not like, do not go to another moderator looking for a different answer. If you are caught doing this you will be banned. The moderators work as a team and respect the decisions made by their peers and will help enforce them unless an administrator tells them differently.
If you have an issue with how the forum is run, then notify one of our administrator and we will look into the situation. We have in the past and still do appreciate any input that you offer this forum. But critical input and/or judgmental postings towards the staff will result in you getting banned.


Should you find a thread offensive or out of line, then notify a Mod in a PM so they can evaluate the situation and do the action deemed necessary.

All moderators do have active "other" lives outside of the forum and help moderate this forum in their spare time throughout the days and weeks.

If you have a problem with a member or Mod follow the proper channels of reporting it.

BKF reserves the right to delete any posts which contain anti-BKF comments or discussion. Any bashing of moderators or administrators, or any of their discussion or actions will also be deleted, and the responsible posting party(s) will be banned. Any public anti-BKF advertising, communication, or posts on another forum will result in permanent bans as well.

All warnings and bans are decided by individual moderators and administrators. Warnings are preferable to bans however, for serious offenses and repeat abusers bans will go into effect. The length of the bans can vary from several hours to permanent.

All messages posted or sent including through PM are the property of BKforum.com.

All BKF users agree not to advertiser on the forum (Niether by posting, private messaging or using your signature). If you are a company/attorney/legal adviser wishing to advertise on the site or sell a product, you must contact the head administrator and inquire about our advertising packages.

All bankruptcy related opinions expressed on BKForum.com are those of their authors and not necessarily of BKF, its staff or representatives.

You agree not to copy any material/post/content from BKF without written permission from our head administrator .

By posting on this forum you agree to these terms and conditions, including any punishment deemed appropriate by moderators or administrators in the event of an offense.

Administrators/Moderators can change these rules at any time without prior notice.
See more
See less

12-step plan to deal with collectors and keep your sanity!

Collapse
This is a sticky topic.
X
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 12-step plan to deal with collectors and keep your sanity!

    This post is geared for those who are just about to default on some debts; while the steps may be helpful for someone in any stage of collections...it's probably most beneficial early-on.

    #1. Get a Google Voice number. Don't tie this to your primary email (gmail or not), this will be a throw-away number. Give this new Google Voice number to ALL your creditors.

    #2. While you're updating your accounts with this new GV (Google Voice) number, take off ANY other numbers that are on your account (i.e. work, cell, etc.). If a creditor absolutely refuses to take off a number (i.e. your work number), sign up for another throw-away GV number and ask to "update" your work number to the new GV number.

    #3. Open a new checking account with a non-local bank (bonus points if they don't have a branch in your state). Make sure they pull your ChexSystems report instead of your credit report (unless you have negative items on your ChexSystems report). A debt collector is more likely to check your credit report than your ChexSystems report, so this can help keep your new account under the radar (note that we're only making it harder for creditors to find your new bank account...if a court orders you to list your assets, or you file for bankruptcy, you MUST disclose it). Think twice before using Wells Fargo, they like to freeze accounts if they find out you filed for bankruptcy. If you're married, and you're the only one who'll be hounded by collectors, consider opening a checking account solely in your spouse's name, but with you as an authorized user (but NOT a joint account). These funds will be considered solely your spouse's, and if you were to have your assets garnished, this account SHOULD be safe (I'm not sure how this may be different in a community property state).

    #4. Cancel all autopays that come from your current bank account(s). Do NOT pay anyone who could be a creditor from your new account, and ESPECIALLY don't give your creditor your checking account number (this includes mailing a check). Using a check card is ok, but be prepared to "lose" it and get a new one re-issued if you expect trouble.

    #5. Zero-out all your old bank accounts, and keep a record of where all the money went to (i.e. if you take out $1,000 in cash, it might be a good idea to dump it in a new account in the next few days...you may need a good paper trail if you file bankruptcy). Now, get a record of the last 6-12 months while your account is still open (if you have online access, save every single statement available to you, plus print out a page showing the current balance which should be at or near $0). Keep the final statement mailed to you.

    #6. Close ALL previous bank accounts, ESPECIALLY any that you EVER paid a creditor from. If you really, really must keep an account at your local bank, just open a new account first and close the old one. And do NOT keep an account open with anyone who is also a creditor.

    #7. Setup a Google Voice number that you'll actually use as your main number. If a collector somehow gets hold of it...it's easy to block them. Give this number out to your family, friends, work, etc. Tell them to NOT give it out to anyone else, even to other family/friends; explain that anyone who you want to have the number, already has it. If you can't trust someone to keep your number private, don't give them the new number (Google will hate me, but you could setup yet ANOTHER GV number to give those people, perhaps have it setup to only forward calls from people you know, and dump all others to voicemail).

    #8. Change all your existing numbers (landline, cell, etc.). Have your new Google Voice number (the one you setup in #6) forward to those lines.

    #9. While you still have online access to your accounts, download every statement you're able to. Keep all statements that are mailed to you from now on. You may need them, and it can be a pain to get once you've defaulted and are shut-out from your account.

    #10. When you're about to default (if you haven't already), then change the voicemail greeting on the GV number you setup in step #1 to say something like this: "Hello, you have reached John Doe at 1515 Main St, Anytown, PA. Again, this is John Doe at 1515 Main St, Anytown, PA. This is the only number you may call me at. You may leave a message."

    #11. Anyone who you think a creditor may call (family members, people you used as a reference on a credit application, etc.), you may want to give them a heads-up. Explain that all they should say is "You have the wrong number" or "John Doe does not live here" and hang up. If they acknowledge that they know you, then the creditor will keep hounding them, because they are a verified connection to you.

    #12. Take a deep breath. Actually, I just needed an extra step to say this was a twelve-step program.

    What "should" happen is all your creditors will have a new number to reach you at. Once they start calling you, they'll be greeted with a message confirming that they have indeed called the correct number. Hopefully they will not call around trying to find you (because they have definitely found you). If they try to call any old numbers that used to be on your account, they'll get a not-in-service message. Now, a debt collector's attempts SHOULD stop there; they're not allowed to call friends/family/neighbors in an attempt to find out your current number and address, if you have already confirmed your current number and address with them. A few will still call around, and the FDCPA does not apply to the original creditor (it's perfectly legal for them to call your mom's number, even if they know the correct number for you). Anyone who does call your friends/family looking for you, should be told "nope, not here, wrong number" and they will probably (but not definitely) stop trying those dead-end numbers.

    Also, you shouldn't call any creditors unless absolutely necessary. If you absolutely have to, then call them using your GV number setup in #1 (whether through an associated Gmail account, or using the call-back feature) or a pay phone (I think there's still one or two left). And if the number you're calling is a toll-free number, your number will show up even if you have your CID blocked (toll-free numbers are unique this way...they always know the number calling them, even if blocked, because they're being billed for the call). So don't call them from your new number, from work, or a friend's, etc. Assume that any number you call them from, they're going to call back trying to find you.

    Any creditor who has your previous checking information may try to debit your old checking account for any amount due (just search Google for directv etf checking account). You've closed all your old accounts, so hopefully this will be a non-issue (it is possible to have a new account debited for such a withdrawal if it's at the same bank as the old account...another reason I suggest severing all ties with your old bank, at least for a while).

    So...you've fended off virtually all the calls, and your friends/family only get a few odd calls here and there, but that's it. You don't have to worry about your new checking account(s) just yet. You finally have some breathing room. Now what?

    Well, the scope of this post is simply what to do BEFORE collections (though if you're already in collections and just want to do some damage control, the steps here will certainly still be useful). However, here's some basic info of what comes next:

    A creditor may sue you in order to garnish your wages and/or bank accounts. This is not something you have to worry too much about the first day you're late. You should have plenty of time to react. A creditor would need to sue you first, get a judgement, then enforce that judgement (i.e. take it to your place of work to garnish wages, or your bank to garnish your bank account). Once they file a suit, you will probably have about 30 days before the court date; if they get a judgement in their favor it will probably take another week or so before they garnish your wages/accounts (but don't count on it...you're on borrowed time). If they can't find anything to take (or even if they do), they can take you to court yet again in order to compel you to disclose your assets, place of work, etc. Now, the first step is to sue you, and you should receive service to make it legal (key word, SHOULD). If you're paranoid, you can search pacer, but don't go overboard (a search on your name once every week or so is more than plenty).

    If you have no non-exempt assets and have no job (or your state doesn't allow wages to be garnished, or your wages are already garnished at the max for back taxes/child support, whatever) then you're essentially collection proof. Many may call you judgment proof; while a creditor is less likely to go through the hassle of getting a judgment against someone with nothing to take, it's not unheard of. But, with nothing to take, there's not much they can do to enforce the judgment. Do note that even if your house and car are completely paid for...a creditor with a judgment can put a lien on it. This means that while they won't actually take it and sell it...if you try to sell it you'll have to satisfy the lien first.

    Also, if you're behind on bills and are dodging creditors, you should at least talk to a bankruptcy attorney. Preferably talk to several. You may decide not to file, or to wait a while longer, but you do need to know what all your options are.
    Last edited by AngelinaCat; 06-13-2011, 08:38 AM. Reason: To replace first post with a more polished version as per dman's request.

  • JJH77
    replied
    This is an awesome post! I'm just starting this whole bk process and creditors are calling my work even after telling them I cannot receive personal calls at work! They've even called and left messages with minutes on the same day and lied that it wasn't hem when it clearly was the same person bc she left her name and number for call back. Since then I've filed a complaint with FTC Consumer Finance. Not sure what the outcome is but I had to do something. I wanted to move forward with the process however in Jan of this year I had a car accident and was injured and need surgery and currently have a personal injury case that's unresolved. My attorney has advised me to hold off on bk until afterwards. I'm so afraid of having my wages garnished or account frozen especially from this bottom feeder loan company that harassing me. Has any had a unique issue such as this? TIA

    Leave a comment:


  • kasey227
    replied
    Thank you!!! Just starting the process, will be getting google voice! By the way, what is a JBD?

    Leave a comment:


  • HopefulMamma
    replied
    Many thanks for this awesome thread! I thought I had most everything covered & then read your suggestion about removing authorized users on all (to be discharged) accounts... I don't know if I'd ever have thought of that.. I have one account my hubby is linked to and am thrilled that deleting him off that account will save some lates on his credit report!

    I really appreciate the time and effort you took to type & post this!

    Hopeful

    Leave a comment:


  • Sammie
    replied
    Thank you for this very imformative forum & posts.

    Because of all your great advice and information, we changed our bank accounts from Wells Fargo to a small bank in town. Closing our safe deposit box tomorrow. My husband went online to all of our credit card accounts & changed our phone numbers. We signed all of the papers this past week & file this coming Wed., Aug. 1st.

    We were current on everything until last week, so I think we were ahead of them, at least up to this point.sammie

    Leave a comment:


  • GoingDown
    replied
    Yes, I agree with you on this.

    Leave a comment:


  • dman
    replied
    Originally posted by GoingDown View Post
    Do you think it is really necessary to call the debt collector from a pay phone when you are using your Google Voice number to call them?

    I don't think so. I don't think they could get your real number from that call because it is actually Google Voice calling the debt collector, not your real phone.

    Google Voice first calls you, then once you answer the phone, Google Voice dials the debt collector's phone number, so all they would see on their caller I.D. is the Google Voice number, not your real phone number.

    So far, it has worked fine for me just using Google Voice to call them, using my cell phone, not a pay phone. They have not yet found my cell phone number using this method.

    And yes, don't give them any other information, if you do choose to talk to them on the phone. They are experts at getting information out of debtors.
    The point is simply to not directly call them from your phone, from your friend's phone, a work phone, etc. Calling from a payphone would be ok. As would calling them using your GV number (I'd recommend using the call-back feature in the call history; this will insure you don't accidentally call them from the wrong GV account).

    Leave a comment:


  • GoingDown
    replied
    Originally posted by dman View Post
    Full disclosure, that pretty much sums me up.

    HOWEVER, only about half of what I wrote pertains to avoiding creditor calls. Also, it's pretty easy to combine the "Ostrich" method and your "Grow a Backbone" method. I even go into detail about how to handle any calls you make to them (i.e. call using a special GV number you set up just for creditors or from a payphone...but NOT from your real number, work number, friend's number, etc.). It's simple. Go through your call history once a week. Call each company once, tell them you still exist, confirm name/address/phone number, tell them your situation has not changed, and hang up (don't let them keep you on the phone). Don't say anything else (i.e., do NOT say "well yeah, I know I owe you money, but..."). If you really want to talk to them, I think that's the way to do it. No need to have the phone ringing off the hook, dozens of calls a day (or more), scared to answer the phone, stressed out of your mind, etc.


    Do you think it is really necessary to call the debt collector from a pay phone when you are using your Google Voice number to call them?

    I don't think so. I don't think they could get your real number from that call because it is actually Google Voice calling the debt collector, not your real phone.

    Google Voice first calls you, then once you answer the phone, Google Voice dials the debt collector's phone number, so all they would see on their caller I.D. is the Google Voice number, not your real phone number.

    So far, it has worked fine for me just using Google Voice to call them, using my cell phone, not a pay phone. They have not yet found my cell phone number using this method.

    And yes, don't give them any other information, if you do choose to talk to them on the phone. They are experts at getting information out of debtors.
    Last edited by GoingDown; 11-21-2011, 12:21 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • GoingDown
    replied
    I agree with dman on this.

    GV gives you control over whether or not you choose to answer the phone. It gives you a clue as to who may be calling you upon which you can base your decision to either answer the phone or let it go to voicemail.

    In my experience, once the debt collector calls you even just once on GV and gets you on the phone, they will keep calling that same number over and over again, without trying to call neighbors or relatives. Especially if you have your voicemail set up to clearly say your name, so they know they have the right phone number to reach you. From time to time you can go ahead and answer it to let them know that they have reached you at the right phone number, and then hang up on them. But being a slave to the phone, by thinking you always have to answer every call from a debt collector would be torture. Like dman said, sometimes they will call over and over, many times during the same day. I don't suggest answering the phone over and over for them. And in any case, NEVER give them any information, if you do choose to answer the phone. Just let them know they have the right person, tell them to stop calling you on the phone, and then hang up on them. And don't answer if they call right back.

    Another option is to tape record their phone calls (if it is legal in your state) and tell them you are tape recording them to try to catch any violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and then play back a little bit of the tape for them, so they get to hear themselves on the tape recorder, so they know you aren't bluffing, and that tends to get them off the phone in a hurry, and many times it gets them to stop calling you. They don't want to be tape recorded by you. They know they are probably going to violate the FDCPA during the call, and they don't want you to get it on tape. With Google Voice, you can record all inbound calls from debt collectors by simply pressing 4 on your phone. So you can get an mp3 recording of the entire conversation. It is a great feature of GV. That way you don't even need a tape recorder to record their calls, but if you want to play it back for them on the spot and still record their call to get their reaction to you playing back the recording you will need both a tape recorder and the record option on Google Voice. Remember, this only works on inbound calls, so they have to call your Google Voice number to activate this option.



    For those debt collectors who do go on to call neighbors, relatives, or call you at work, then I would suggest sending them a cease and desist communications letter in the mail to get them to stop calling. In the many, many times I have sent one of these in the mail to debt collectors, I have only had one of them ignore it and keep calling me. I finally got them to stop calling me by filing a complaint with my local attorney general's office, which sent them an official letter in the mail.

    Leave a comment:


  • dman
    replied
    Argh, my long reply was eaten by the forum! Short version:

    Just because you have a separate GV for creditors, doesn't mean you HAVE to hide from them. You can have calls to this GV number forwarded to your landline too. And while you can only have one GV number forwarding to a mobile number, you can simply tell GV that your mobile number is actually a home (or landline) number. You'll lose some nifty features like text forwarding, but calls will still be forwarded.

    My way, you get to CHOOSE if and when you answer a collector's call. What if you answer every call, but they don't like the answer and decide to call every 5 minutes? If you have GV, you can block their calls. But what if they keep calling from a different number?

    A neat trick with GV, is you can choose to have the caller's number show on your forwarded phone's caller-id, or your GV number. So let's say your GV number is 212-555-1212. You can have it set so that anytime anyone calls it, the number that shows up on your real phone (landline or mobile) is always 212-555-1212. Now, you won't know exactly who is calling, but you'd know which number they called. So have your "real" (i.e. the one you give friends/family/work) GV number pass through the caller's number (so when your mom calls, your mom's number shows on your caller-id), and have the "collections" GV number pass itself as the caller-id (so any time someone called 212-555-1212, whether it's capital one or hsbc or citi or WHOEVER, on your forwarded phone the caller-id will always read 212-555-1212). This is great if you HAVE to take calls from work (say, you're on call for a shift or whatever). If a local number pops up that you don't recognize...well you know they called your real GV number (or perhaps the phone's true number) and you always answer. If a collector calls, it'll show up 212-555-1212, so you can ignore it or answer, whichever you choose.

    My way just gives you extra control. You can ignore the calls, answer every single one, answer some of them when you feel like it, whatever. It's all up to you. Someone could start out ignoring every collector call, later change their mind, and then answer every collector call. Or they can start out answering every call, change their mind, and with a few clicks they can ignore every single collector call.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bell30656
    replied
    Dman, I took it even farther to make certain that I received their calls. I have Vonage for home phone service and I forwarded my calls to my cell phone just so that I'd never miss their calls giving them an excuse to start "Attempt to locate" calls.

    Leave a comment:


  • dman
    replied
    Originally posted by Bell30656 View Post
    Ostrich will work fine if you are not employed, you don't care if neighbors or relatives find out and you are lucky enough to not get served with a few lawsuits.
    Full disclosure, that pretty much sums me up.

    HOWEVER, only about half of what I wrote pertains to avoiding creditor calls. Also, it's pretty easy to combine the "Ostrich" method and your "Grow a Backbone" method. I even go into detail about how to handle any calls you make to them (i.e. call using a special GV number you set up just for creditors or from a payphone...but NOT from your real number, work number, friend's number, etc.). It's simple. Go through your call history once a week. Call each company once, tell them you still exist, confirm name/address/phone number, tell them your situation has not changed, and hang up (don't let them keep you on the phone). Don't say anything else (i.e., do NOT say "well yeah, I know I owe you money, but..."). If you really want to talk to them, I think that's the way to do it. No need to have the phone ringing off the hook, dozens of calls a day (or more), scared to answer the phone, stressed out of your mind, etc.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bell30656
    replied
    While this is a great way to avoid all the collection calls, I personally call the Ostrich Method. When you stick your head in the sand the issues are still there, you just don't know about them. Hiding from collectors is a sure way to really piss them off. Often when a collector figures out you are hiding from them they will move ahead with filing suit. If a JDB has your debt all bets are off. These bottom-feeders won't hesitate to call your neighbors. They'll just run a couple computer checks and start doing attempt to locate calls. If the calling the neighbors doesn't get you to call them back, then they'll resort to calling others in your town with the same last name. If you live in a small enough town.

    It was enjoyable having my ex-wife tell me about a collection call from a JDB looking for me. JDB's will also call your work, attempting to locate you. I had one that dialed random extensions leaving voice mails asking me to call him. Very effective in getting me to call him back.

    I subscribe to another method. I call it the Grow a Backbone Method. When the debt collector calls, answer the call. Generally the more answer the less calls you get. After I confirm my identity with the collection agent, I then tell the debt collector that I do not discuss financial matters over the telephone. NO matter what they say, I stick to my mantra. My calls are short and sweet. As soon as the id verification is out of the way, I am quick. I tell them I don't discuss these matters over the phone, bid them a good day and hang up before they can protest. Collection agents want to be in control. They cannot stand you seizing their control.

    Ostrich will work fine if you are not employed, you don't care if neighbors or relatives find out and you are lucky enough to not get served with a few lawsuits.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jf24
    replied
    Originally posted by dman View Post
    "Hello, you have reached John Doe at 1515 Main St, Anytown, PA. Again, this is John Doe at 1515 Main St, Anytown, PA. This is the only number you may call me at. You may leave a message.".
    I set up the GV but get mail at a po box. Will saying "My mailing address is po box ***" Is this ok or is a street address better.

    Leave a comment:


  • GoingDown
    replied
    I really like this thread. There is so much useful information in it! Two thumbs up!

    Leave a comment:

Unconfigured Ad Widget

Collapse
Working...
X