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Everything posted by BackFromTheDebt

  1. I am currently working in the banking industry. They send everyone working for them a certain number of scam emails to make sure we report the scams, and don't fall for them. Here are a FEW of the red flags, in addition to what was pointed out earlier: Incorrect spelling and/or grammar. The letter does not look like it was written by someone who has enough knowledge of English to pass the bar. A sense of urgency -- Note that the "offer" is only good TODAY and today only. If an offer is that urgent, it is almost always a scam. Dire consequences if you don't act NOW -- The threat of court action, arrest, notification of employer, etc. are all Bad Things that will happen if you don't act NOW. This ties in with the sense of urgency. The dire consequences make the urgency even more urgent. Unknown source -- while many real dunning notices will be from an unknown source, the rule is: almost every email scam is from an unknown source. Note that any real collection agency will also send a letter. They might call first, or even email first, but they are required by law to send a letter. @Clydesmom pointed out some highly illegal things in the letter, such as threats of arrest or notification of employers or "references". If you know those are illegal, you know this is a scam. In addition, the lack of the proper "mini miranda" under the FDCPA lets you know this is not a legitimate organization. Same with the lack of the 30 days to DV. A cardinal rule is: If there is a threat of arrest on a debt, it is a scam. That ties in with the urgency.
  2. Nothing surprises me anymore. The accounts my wife and I had wound up with so many complete oddball stuff that ALMOST never happens. Reading this forum and the defunct DB forum I saw stuff that was truly mind boggling. But it all happened. Your case is unusual, but nowhere close to the strangest. Not by a long shot.
  3. If you want to fight it, you are in luck. There is a great. Arbitration clause. Your homework for the next few days is to : 1. Read up on the arbitration thread linked to in the template. 2. Search for arbitration cases in Texas, since the courts are a little different.
  4. They probably won’t. Realize there are no guarantees.
  5. They could file again. They might file again. They more likely than not won’t. But you can’t be sure until the SOL has passed.
  6. You need to dispute it in some way to fight the law suit. A lawsuit is almost always too late to file a DV letter, but the dispute could be in the form of a denial, At this point, you have several options. 1. Work out a settlement between now and when the answer is due. If you have enough money, and you don't want to spend the time to fight this, a settlement might be the best answer. 2. If you are completely destitute, disabled, etc. -- in other words, a real hardship case -- I think Midland has a hardship program some people have used. If you can show a real hardship, they have been known to just drop the lawsuit. 3. You can fight this, and probably win. Look up the arbitration section, and look at some of @fisthardcheese's posts on arbitration. There are many people who have used arbitration to completely beat Midland/Sychronicity lawsuits.
  7. The best thing you can do to boost your credit score is to wait until the derogatory remarks are off in a couple of years, and make sure you pay your bills on time between now and then. Any accounts you have open, keep open. Length of your credit history matters. When your credit score gradually improves, ask for higher limits on your cards, so your usage won’t be too high. When your credit is much better, apply for higher limit cards. Make only a few payments on each card every month and pay the amount in full. I was able to slowly get my credit score from the mid 400s to the mid-high 700s over time.
  8. 1. Do you have any records of the payments you made before the loan was sold? This is important. For example, I used to have a mortgage with BMO Harris, and at one point they claimed I hadn't made a payment. Fortunately, I had made that payment at the bank, and saved the receipt. My current bank says the canceled check is the receipt. So, if you go to the bank for which you have a checking account, and you can prove they made a mistake, send them the evidence right away. 2. I feel bad for you not being able to get anyone on the phone. I would suggest sending everything by mail. Make copies, and send everything CMRRR. 3. Strongly consider contacting the CFPB and banking regulators. You also may wind up having to retain an attorney. There is a former poster from this forum who wound up fighting a foreclosure by showing wrongdoing by the bank. As in, the bank pretty much wound up walking away from the mortgage. I am currently contracting for a different bank. I know from experience that banks do NOT want to be on the bad side of federal regulators. I cannot give details, but when regulators get involved, the banks pretty much HAVE to make things right, no matter what the cost is to the bank. As is, I've seen banks eat millions or even over 100 million to fix issues which effect multiple parties.
  9. To the OP: This is a Sychronicty account. The JDB bought all the rights and obligations of the original debt and the original contract. You retain all your rights and obligations. One of your rights is the right to arbitration. Synchronicity has an arbitration agreement which is fantastic to you. Meaning, if you get them into arbitration you will almost certainly win, because almost no JDB wants to spend zillions of dollars to collect the debt. They go for the low hanging fruit. Do a search on this site for arbitration, especially for Sychronicity accounts.
  10. I should add — there is at least a small probability that the OC declared the OP dead as a truly perverse form of skip tracing. As in, prove you are alive by giving us all the contact information, so we can sic our collectors on you. Doing so would be illegal. If this actually happened, or if the OC could not show any valid reason why they declared the OP dead, the bank could get into trouble, and may very well be willing to walk away to get the OP to drop any claims against the bank. If I were the OP, I would demand the bank show good reason why they declared him deceased.
  11. Braking the law in order to find a debtor who seems to have flown the coop. At one point, I had to change my phone number because the phone system was attached to a water tower that burned down. To get a new phone ASAP I needed a new number. Almost all the debt collectors were smart enough to call 411 to get my new number. One OC was not. As a ruse, they sent a letter to my wife saying her account was suspended because of a high volume of unusual and large charges. She had only used the account once, for a balance transfer. The letter was designed to shock her into contacting the OC and asking about the charges. That was illegal under state and federal laws. What we did: She sent a letter CMRRR demanding an explanation, disputing the entire debt, and demanding an investigation of all charges. The letter included what federal statutes required them to investigate. Instead of answering my wife’s letter, the OC sent the account to a CA. Over the next few years, my wife sent letters to each CA refusing to pay the debt until an investigation came through. Eventually it went to a law firm. At that point my wife filed a claim in JAMS for fraud, identity theft, etc. I was able to represent her in JAMS. Their lawyer was not happy with his client after discovery. I cannot tell what the settlement was.
  12. Which is why I mentioned passwords. I need to give a password for my accounts when dealing with banks, etc. to show I am authorized to get certain information. But, that is not sufficient to prove that I am who I say I am. There are many scams which prey upon grandparents, for example, in which the caller pretends to be the grandchild calling from jail. The scam artists are quite good. I know of a case in which one of the most brilliant attorneys in Long Island was scammed. Back when I was a professor, one time I was talking to a student who called from home, two counties away. He asked for his grades. My interpretation of federal privacy laws were I could not give him the information, because authorization had to either be in person or in writing. Fortunately I made the students come up with passwords at the beginning of the semester. Legally, I could give out the grades corresponding to they password.
  13. Both my wife and I work and have worked in several fields which have VERY strict federal privacy laws, and both of us have been trained on how to deal with federal privacy laws. I am currently in banking, and I have been trained in personal confidential information handling. Phone calls are NOT a good way to deal with private information. I can get on the phone and say "I am Groot". That does not make me Groot. Private information is best handled either (a) by mail or (b) using a password. By mail is best. True, debt collectors generally do not follow strict privacy practices. A random CA can call me up and ask for Groot, and when I say "I am Groot", they wind up giving out all sorts of confidential information. Heck, many years ago I had a debt collector from Citibank scream at me because I said I was NOT Groot, and I didn't know how he could find Groot. He accused me of lying. I have always advised people not to deal with debt collectors over the phone, since we laymen can easily say something stupid. Any bank that would call someone up, and use a statement that the recipient is Groot as proof that the recipient really is Groot, is asking for trouble with federal regulators. Unfortunately, I don't have any idea what the laws are regarding a bank declaring you dead. My advice for the OP to save and document everything, which the OP is wisely following, is the best I can do. If I were the OP, I would spend the time to look into what the bank is or is not required to do in order to declare one of their customers to be deceased. Maybe the bank followed the law to the letter, maybe they did not. I can say, based upon my short experience in the banking industry, that I know of cases in which banks have simply written off part or even all of a debt in order to steer clear of federal regulators. I was personally involved in a project in which staggering amounts of money were written off.
  14. When things get weird, anything can happen. Which is why I recommended earlier that EVERYTHING be well documented and saved. This could be a mess up by the OC. This may or may not be an honest mistake. They could verify. This could be ID theft. This could be one illegal skip tracing. As I have mentioned many times in the past, I got one of the most dogged OCs to drop a case with illegal skip tracing they refused to investigate. We don’t know what is going on. The OC may handle this correctly, and there may be no violation. Or, the OC could mess this up and the OP saving all the evidence could blow this up in the OC’s faces. When an OC did some illegal skip tracing on my wife’s account, we got the OC to walk away and also got a law firm to pay a couple of dimes for their violations. So don’t assume this is just an innocent thing for which you have no recourse. Even if it is innocent, they may well be willing to make an extremely favorable settlement to avoid having to explain to a judge or arbitrator why they presumed you dead without any evidence.
  15. Yes, OCs can be abusive when they call. That is one of the many reasons why I used a call blocker back in the day. (This was so long ago, it was a land line). Revocation of right to call works better with cell phones than with land lines. AND, it works better if it is a robo-call and you can prove it is a robo-call. Otherwise, if you don't want to speak to the OC, block their calls. I did once have an OC that committed all sorts of nasty offenses on my wife's account when we changed our phone numbers. In that situation, they did some illegal skip tracing, claiming there were a lot of unusual charges on her account. When she demanded to know what the charges were, and demanded an investigation, they ignored her. That really came back to bite them in the posterior when they finally threatened to sue her. Of course your situation is different. They may or may not handle this one properly. The best advice I can give you is: 1. SAVE EVERYTHING! 2. Make copies of everything you send out, and save the copies. 3. Send all letters CMRRR. Save the green card. 4. Save all correspondence from the OC and any collection agencies. 5. SAVE EVERYTHING!!!!! I hope I am not being too subtle in emphasizing how you need to save everything. At some point, if the OC does commit a violation, you need all the evidence to nail them. In my wife's case, saving everything was worth the equivalent of a few months' salary.
  16. The short answer is, your credit score will increase. I can't tell you exactly how much it will increase. I think Credit Karma has a tool you can use to see what changing certain things would have on your estimated FICO score. Please note: this is NOT your real FICO score. It is an estimated score, and the effects the tool shows are rough estimates. Better than what any of us could predict, based on our extremely limited knowledge of your situation, and not knowing the FICO algorithms.
  17. There were some extenuating circumstances, Extenuating circumstances play a huge role. Every OC is different, and there can be huge differences from case to case. Back about a decade or so ago, I was able to get a 25% settlement just before charge-off with FNBO. That was normal in those days. Sometimes the state laws can make a difference as well. Back in those days, BOA (now BAML) kept very bad records, and settlements of 10-15% were quite common. My state had very strict records requirements, so I was able to use that to keep BOA from ever suing, and also to beat Cap 1. Still, this is one of the best settlements we have seen from Discover. Other good settlements have generally been between the time Discover was billed for the hearing, and when they paid the bill. I don't recall seeing this good a settlement this early.
  18. Excellent deal. Take it. BEFORE you sign, read it carefully and make sure this settles all claims. They normally put that language in there, but just make sure. They might have a stipulation that you never apply for nor use a Discover Card ever again. That is normal.
  19. I am very sorry about your father. Unless there is a prohibition in Oregon state laws, your wife may represent you in JAMS. This does not require a POA. I represented my wife in JAMS. In that case, my wife and I sent a signed statement to JAMS and the opposing attorney that I was an unpaid non-attorney representative for her. That way I could not be charged with unauthorized practice of law. Nobody at JAMS objected, nor did the AmEx attorney. I believe some states do NOT allow this, but I don’t know which states.
  20. We can't really give you any advice without seeing a redacted version of the agreement. I am completely confused by this post. Are they agreeing to walk away from the dispute, or are they asking you to agree to pay some money?
  21. I’ve been in that situation myself. First and foremost, file an objection to the MSJ on the grounds that your MTC takes the case out of the court’s jurisdiction. Improper venue.
  22. I can't read their minds, but they do seem to be sending a very clear message with their silence, i.e. they are not taking your offer seriously. The way to get them to take it seriously is to have your MTC ruled on favorably, and then file in JAMS. Then, make the same offer again. MAYBE they will reply. Maybe not. You say this is an old debt. Is it within the SOL?
  23. Well, it will be very difficult to drag out arbitration unless you are actively participating in arbitration. If you stop participating, either the case will be closed or they will just rule against you. Either way, you would find yourself in court very quickly. Also, a BK attorney could file BK and do all the work for you while you are gone. You don't have to be there. Not to mention, if you have any expectations of inheritance, it would be far better to file BK while your father is still alive. Otherwise any inheritance you get would be taken away to pay your creditors. If you have already spoken with a BK attorney, I am sure you have discussed this. I can't see that tax liabilities are any reason to delay BK either. But, you have spoken to an attorney already, and the attorney almost certainly has a better idea of the situation than anyone on this board. If you are certain that BK must be delayed, and you feel it is absolutely necessary to drag things out in arbitration, you should (a) choose possible arbitrators right away. I think you are right at your deadline. Do that NOW. Don't miss any deadlines. (b) File a letter with the case manager, ASAP, of course with a copy to the opposing law firm, stating that due to your father's impending death you are requesting a continuance of the proceedings for 4 months. (c) If no continuance is given, then wait until an arbitrator is chosen. As soon as an arbitrator is chosen, file for a continuance based upon your father's impending death, and you needing to be around to help him. This way, you will probably get your continuance, so you can deal with important matters, without needlessly wasting everyone's time in arbitration. If continuances are denied, then sorry, but the only way to drag things out would be do everything in arbitration, including discovery, by email while you are with your father.
  24. At this point, you need to follow the advice of your BK attorney. If the attorney says file now, file now. If the attorney says drag it out, then pick some arbitrators. It doesn't matter, because you will lose anyway. How long does your attorney say you need to drag this out?