Saturday, November 19, 2011
The Post Office
If you moved recently, you may have filled out a change of address form with the post office. The post office uses your forwarding address form to reroute any mail sent to your old address to your new address. Even if you did not provide collection agencies with your forwarding address, the post office will provide a debt collector with that information upon request.
Because you owe collection agencies money, they have permissible purpose under the FCRA to pull and review your credit report. As soon as you notify your current creditors of your change of address, those creditors report the new address to the credit bureaus. Your new address then appears on your credit report and debt collectors can use the information to contact you.
Collection agencies often employ skip tracers. A skip tracer is a form of private detective that helps collection agencies locate debtors who have "skipped" out on their debts. Skip tracers review public records, such as marriage certificates and property records to find out everything from your current contact information to your Social Security number. In certain states, skip tracers and debt collectors alike can even search the DMV's records for information about your whereabouts.
Think your information is safe on Facebook or Google Plus? Think again. Even if you set your social networking profile to "private," individuals viewing your profile can still see your location. If the person viewing your profile is a debt collector, he or she can use your city and state as a starting point for tracking you down.
Collection agencies can obtain the names of your family members through the "next of kin" information on your credit applications, through your social networking profile, or through the good old fashioned phone book. While a debt collector cannot give your family members any information about your debt, the collector can contact your family members in order to obtain your telephone number or address. Federal law restricts collectors to only contacting a given family member once unless the company has cause to believe the individual purposely lied to help you hide from your debt.