I am not a lawyer, I am a judgment broker. This article is based on my experience in California. Laws vary in each state, and nothing in any of my articles should ever be considered legal advice. This article is my opinion about how to work around the problem of debtors having common names, or using the same names or Social Security Numbers of their parents, grandparents, or kids.
When a kid is named Barry Clark and his father is also named Barry Clark and his grandfather is named Barry Clark; it is perhaps cute, perhaps sentimental, and perhaps it can make it more difficult for creditors to collect from the right Barry Clark. It is too bad that dates of birth, and at least partial Social Security numbers are not put on most judgments by courts.
Some debtors use a relative’s Social Security Number, or one from an unrelated person, to evade creditors. Even if your debtor is a “scammer” and uses someone else’s or multiple Social Security numbers, there is not much you can do about it.
In theory, intentionally using someone else’s or multiple Social Security Numbers (SSNs) is illegal. However, in real life – unless one uses multiple SSNs to defraud the government, a big business, or a VIP – law enforcement rarely does anything to the average person who uses fake SSNs – or even those who commit perjury.
Making threats is illegal. One cannot threaten, or threaten to notify others, for example the police or the IRS, for the purpose of getting a judgment paid.
There are many laws that restrict disclosing information about a debtor’s debt to third-parties. What happens when you have a judgment debtor whose name is the same as his father’s name? If you mail them a letter or anything else, how do you know the right person will open it? If you call them to negotiate a payment plan, how do you know you are talking to the right person?
This same-named debtor problem occurs fairly often. If you know the age of the debtor, perhaps their middle name is different. When you call or write, use their middle name, or use Jr. or Sr. If they ask why you want to talk to the debtor, say it is a business transaction.
If the debtor says they are the right person (the person named on the judgment), make sure they sound “right”, a 22-year old should sound different than a 50-year old. If you are sure you are speaking to the right person, recite the “Mini-Miranda”, and ask them how they plan to repay this judgment debt.
Google “Mini Miranda”. When speaking with the debtor, you need to recite the Mini Miranda to them. Also include the Mini Miranda (and in California, the Rosenthal Act) on your first written correspondence to the judgment debtor (for example a payment plan agreement letter).
Then, prepare to hear lies, including what a SOB the original judgment creditor was, how they were not served, how they are poor, and hear how they are sad, mad, etc. There is a 10% chance they will offer to pay you, and a 2% chance they will really pay you as they promised.
If you call a judgment debtor, never lie about who you are, and do not let them believe you are associated with any entity that you are not part of. It is ok to tell them you are an investigator with your own company. Tell them that you are trying to contact (debtor’s name).
You can proceed with your investigative call by saying “we need to confirm that we are speaking with the correct individual, can I kindly ask you for your year of birth?” As a first step, you are just trying to confirm that you have the correct individual.
Once you have confirmed that you are speaking with the correct debtor, try being nice and working with them on a payment plan. You might say they qualify for a voluntary payment plan instead of normal surprise judgment enforcement procedures.