ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Personal Finance»
  • Debt & Bankruptcy

How Can a Collection Agency Find Out Information About My Bank Accounts?

Updated on May 2, 2016
Bill collectors have several tricks for getting information about your bank accounts and other assets.
Bill collectors have several tricks for getting information about your bank accounts and other assets. | Source

A collection agency does not have the power to check the balances of your bank accounts or seize funds unless it wins a judgment against you. Unless you receive a court order to disclose financial information, you are under no legal obligation to cooperate with a collection agency’s attempts to collect a debt.

Collection Agencies

A collection agency is a business that specializes in collecting debts. Some collection agencies work on behalf of other businesses and receive a commission for whatever money they collect. Other collection agencies operate as debt buyers: They purchase old debts from original creditors for a small percentage of their value and then try to collect them. The debt buyer keeps the entire amount that it collects.

If a creditor assigns or sells one of your debts to a collection agency, the agency's bill collectors will contact you by phone and postal mail. The collectors may initially attempt to persuade you to pay the debt in full or offer you a payment plan. If you are unable or unwilling to repay the debt, the collector may also offer to settle the for less than what you owe.

Depending on the circumstances, a collection agency may file a lawsuit against you as a way of collecting the debt. If the collection agency wins, it can ask the court to levy your bank account, file a lien on your property, or garnish your wages.

Regardless of tactics used, many debt collectors do report your accounts to credit bureaus. These reports can negatively affect your credit history and score.

Third Party Contacts

The federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act restricts the types of communications a debt collector can have with others about your debt. While it is legal for a debt collector to contact others in an attempt to locate you, the collector cannot discuss your situation unless the conversation is with your attorney or spouse.

Debt Collection Tactics Exposed

Judgments and Levies

If you cannot repay the debt, or refuse to do so, the collection agency may take you to court. If it wins its case, it can take additional measures to collect the debt, including seizing funds from your bank and investment accounts. A sheriff or other law enforcement official usually carries out this process, known as a “levy” or a “garnishment”. The collection agency brings a copy of the court judgment to the sheriff’s office, along with information about your bank accounts, and asks the sheriff to serve the garnishment or levy to the bank. Once this happens, your bank freezes your funds and turns them over to the sheriff. This process may be repeated as many times as is necessary to pay off your debt.

Locating Bank Accounts

Collection agencies have several ways of finding out about your bank accounts and use this information when attempting to garnish or levy funds. If you ever paid your original creditor using a paper check or bank draft, the creditor can provide this information to the collection agency. Similarly, if you ever made any payments to the collection agency using bank checks or drafts, the collection agency may use this information to garnish your funds. The collection agency may also subpoena you to court to complete a financial disclosure form while under oath. This disclosure form asks you to list any bank accounts that you have, along with other assets so that the collection agency can begin to seize them.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • MsLainieP profile image
      Author

      Lainie Petersen 5 years ago from Chicago

      Many thanks for your feedback, Monica!

    • monicamelendez profile image

      monicamelendez 5 years ago from Salt Lake City

      I wish I had known a lot more about the collection process a few years ago. I was constantly dealing with creditors. You've got some great advice in this hub, thank you!

    • MsLainieP profile image
      Author

      Lainie Petersen 6 years ago from Chicago

      Thanks for your feedback and support, Funmontrealgirl!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)