Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in New Jersey

I received a call from a processor and he informed me that a judgement will be placed against me for a credit card I never applied for. I am on Social Security and I'd like to know if there is any way that they can freeze my bank account or garnish my check?

Asked on 5/13/11, 7:26 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

John Corbett Corbett Law Firm LLC

If there is a judgment against you, the creditor can collect it by any lawful means. SS payments are exempt but other assets can be siezed and the court may allow payment from your bank account if there are other funds there. If you did not own the card, you have to defend the suit or, if the suit has already been decided, you have to have it re-opened. If you sit by and permit a judgment to be entered against you, the court will assume that it is valid.

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Answered on 5/13/11, 7:39 am
Philip D. Stern Philip D. Stern Attorney at Law, LLC

As you state the content of the call, this could be a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) entitling you to up to $1,000 and have all of your attorney's fees paid.

It is very important that you keep a record of all calls including the date and time. Don't forget to keep a log of all phone messages left on your answering or voicemail.

If you receive a summons and complaint, retain a lawyer immediately. Delaying your response will only hurt you.

I suggest you contact an attorney with experience in defending collection lawsuits and the FDCPA. I handle this work or you can find one on

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Answered on 5/13/11, 7:53 am
Jeffrey Walters Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Walters, LLC

A creditor may only obtain a judgment after first suing you, by serving you with a Summons and Complaint. You would then have the opportunity to defend the lawsuit by filing a written Answer with the court. Only after a judgment is obtained after proper notice will the creditor be able to do things like levy on bank accounts. Social security is immune from levy, even if placed in a bank account. However, there are some problems. First, it is not unheard of for a creditor to sue someone and provide the court with an incorrect address. So long as the mail is not returned with an indication by the post office that the person does not live there, they will consider service to be good. It is common for the mail carrier to just leave mail in a mailbox at the old address of someone who has moved, and for the person who received it to just throw it out if it has nothing to do with them. Therefore, it is possible that you can find yourself with a judgment against you, even though you never received a lawsuit. Furthermore, even though social security is immune from levy, the creditor does not necessarily know that this is the source of the money in your bank account. So if judgment is entered against you, then they would likely try to levy on your bank account in which case you will not have access to your funds. While you can then oppose the levy to have it lifted, it will be a big headache for you, as this process typically takes several weeks and a court appearance before the judge, during which time you won't have access to your money and you may need it for things like rent and groceries. Therefore, I would encourage you to speak with the person who called you and try to nip this in the bud before it progresses. If you did not apply for the credit card, then call their fraud department. If you do not know the number of the person who called you, then perhaps obtain a credit report to find out information about your alleged creditors. If you receive any collection letters or are sued, seek legal advice from any attorney. Good luck.

Note: Due to the limitations of the LawGuru Forums, the response to questions posted does not constitute legal advice or legal representation of the person posting a question. The information provided is general. The poster should obtain specific legal advice from an attorney, and should not rely upon the response as the basis for making any decisions of legal consequence.

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Answered on 5/13/11, 7:53 am

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