It is kind of funny how some people think they can keep all their personal information off the internet if they just don’t use social media, they are careful about distributing their email addresses, and so forth. Those kinds of strategies certainly reduce the amount of information available online, but all of us are subject to some degree of internet snooping even after going to great lengths to hide information.
A good example to illustrate the point is found in judgment collection. Judgment Collectors is a Salt Lake City, UT collection agency that specializes in judgments. They have lots of ways to dig around for information. They can find information on debtors, even if those debtors never go online themselves.
Suffice it to say that the internet has changed the judgment collection game. It is a treasure trove of information just waiting to be uncovered. If you know what you are doing and where to look, you can find a lot of helpful information that would be useful in collecting unpaid judgment.
Searching Property Records
Judgment Collectors recently worked a case involving a business owner who defaulted on a loan. The individual had operations in two states. When he defaulted, the collateral he originally put up for the loan was liquidated. However, the liquidation did not yield enough to pay what was owed. Judgment Collectors went to work.
They were able to scour property records in both states. Eventually, they uncovered previously undisclosed business assets under the debtor’s name. After that, it was simply a matter of making the debtor aware that they knew of the assets and had every intention to continue collection efforts if the balance on the loan was not paid. The debtor paid up.
Here is the thing: those property records were not put online by the debtor. Property records are published by local municipalities, counties and, where applicable, state agencies. They would have been readily available to the collection agency even if the debtor’s businesses had no online presence.
Residential Property Records
In this particular case, the collection agency was looking for records pertaining to commercial properties. However, it is a safe bet they also looked at residential property records. Such records are equally abundant. A collection agency just needs to know where to look.
If a collection agency knew that a debtor lived in Utah, for example, it could do an exhaustive search of residential property transactions in every Utah county. Though it could take some time, collection agencies have plenty to spend on the task.
Other Available Records
Property records are just the starting point for collection agencies. They can look at other sorts of records, too. They can start with court records. Unless purposely sealed by a judge, all records pertaining to legal proceedings are accessible by the public. So are government agency records. If a debtor files for a building permit, that record is accessible.
Collection agencies can look at arrest records. They can run phone numbers to get profiles that show debtor names and aliases, current and previous addresses, current and previous employment, and so forth.
The fact is that there is a ton of information online about each and every one of us. Even people who make a point of not using the internet themselves are not protected. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that there really is no such thing as internet privacy. Anyone who knows where to look can find out an awful lot about anyone else. Judgment collectors are happy about that because it makes their job a whole lot easier.