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JulieM
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I have old credit card debts from 1994. Now I am 64 and only live on a small social security check I have no other income, no bank accounts, Only have my furniture and persoa\nal possesions, I live in a apartment, I have an older car. 3 credit collection agencies sen letters and keep dinging my credit report each month. If they take me to court I cannot pay any attorney anything at all. How can I save my furniture, I mean keep it and not have them take it away. I can never afford to buy any again. I barely can buy food now. I cash my check in a grocery store.

Is there something I fill out to protect my furniture from being taken.

It is good furniture but it is about 20 years old, looks brand new though.

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Hello Julie,

First of all – stop worrying and here is why I say that…

1. To the best of my knowledge (and someone will correct me if I’m wrong on this), Social Security income cannot be attached through any sort of garnishment a credit card company might get

2. Even were it possible to take the income, it can only come after they sue you and after they get a judgment against you and then only after they go through the steps necessary to execute the judgment – in other words, all that isn’t going to happen all that fast.

3. I wouldn’t worry a bit about your credit report at this point – you can deal with that when/if you need to later on but in the meantime, you don’t need to be using credit anyway so it shouldn’t be impacting you that much.

4. Finally, unless you have a LOT of assets (valuable furniture, lot’s of equity in a home, car, etc.) then you don’t need to worry about those either – they aren’t going to come in and take your furniture and even if they wanted to do so, they would still have to go through the steps I outlined above to get a judgment, etc.

5. I don't know when these accounts were last actually "current"/how long the've been in default but if it's been long enough since they went deliquent, then your creditors may not be able to collect on them thorugh court action anway because of your state's statute of limitations (which limits how much time can pass before a person/company can bring an action in court against another).

In the short term, I would write a simple letter to each creditor/collection agency contacting you and explain that you have no assets, that you live on your social security income and that you have no way to pay them – this is usually called a “judgment proof” letter and there are samples available here and other places on the internet but I strongly suggest you use your own words.

After receiving the letter(s), your creditors may or may not leave you alone but they likely will, at least eventually…in the meantime, just ignore their calls and letters.

I know it's difficult and scarry but I truly wouldn’t loose one second of sleep over this or give them even one penny on this debt until you can cover ALL your needs of life.

Now, long term, life doesn’t end at 64 – unless you are physically unable to work, you are going to have to think about some sort of job, be it full-time or part-time. I know that isn’t the picture society likes to paint about our “retirement years” but the truth of the matter is that “retirement” is actually a western and pretty “modern” concept; there is nothing wrong with the concept but if you aren’t in a financial position to retire and live off your accumulated wealth then you just aren’t in that financial position.

ONE MORE PIECE OF WARNING - if any of these creditors DO sue you, DO NOT IGNOR the problem. Come back here for advice but don't just let it sit and do nothing or your'll loose most of yoru options that can be of great help to you.

You’ve come to a good place…lot’s of people here are willing to offer advice.

I wish you well.

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When was the account defaulted on, and what kind of debt is it?

Social Security is exempt from garnishment I am on disability myself and so far I have had a few judgments placed against me but nothing resulting from the judgments.

Do you own your home? Recently my mother had a judgment try to go after her home, but the lawyer told her they could not get what they wanted so they would likely back down.

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Robert's advice is excellent.

Click here for a link to something you might find helpful.

My summary is: Ohio collection agents will argue that signing a credit card application makes it a written contract, with a SOL of 15 years.

The comments in the link and the referenced case seem to support that a credit card is a sales transaction and the SOL is 4 years.

If this is true, I suppose that means that "written contract" pertains agreements to perform certain actions, like building, remodeling, car repairs, etc.

I can't vouch for the accuracy of this, but it's somthing start with and look into.

DH

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Julie

Take a deep breath and relax. Things are going to be fine.

Judges in Ohio have been ruling that credit cards are written agreements and thus subject to the 15 year SOL which, by the way, is the longest SOL in the country.

None of that really affects you. Your social security is exempt from garnishment.

Ohio law allows a $1000 exemption for personal property. But, again, I just don't think you will have a problem. For the purposes of the exemption, your furniture is valued at "garage sale prices" which I expect would cover you. As a practical matter, your creditors don't want used furniture (even if it is quite nice) since it will cost them more to have it picked up and sold than it is worth. If you had something valuable like, for example, a $10,000 piano then I think you would have a problem. Otherwise, I think you will be just fine.

I know this all sounds scary to you. Like others have said before, you should be just fine.

If and when you are sued, post back and we will help you through the process. There are a series of legal steps to the judgment and then potentially an asset interrogatory. It all sounds overwhelming but really is not. The important thing is to never ignore anything you get. Just post and let someone walk you through the process. You really don't need an attorney.

You really do not need to talk to the collectors on the phone. Collecting is an exercise in psychology and the goal of the collector is to upset you so that you will send money just to get them off your back. Of course, you should not be sending money that you don't have anyway. There is no law that requires you to speak with them. I encourage you to simply say "I'm sorry but I cannot talk to you right now" and just hang up. If you start offering explanations you will just play into their process. Don't. Be nice and just hang up. Don't do anything that puts stress on you.

I know I have said this several times -- it sounds scary. Don't be afraid. You will be fine.

I can tell that things are hard for you right now. Just focus on taking care of yourself and don't worry about these other problems. Feel free to send me a PM if you have any questions now or later. Best wishes for good things.

Bill

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These debts occured before 1994,, 1994 was the last payment on ny.

My ex husband talked me into getting credit cards and then used them and had me sign. He always said if i did not he would leave me.

I am ill and can not work so my social security check will be it from now on.

But it pays for my apartment, and the basic needs.

I cash my check in a grocery store, I get my medicines on a patint assistant program free. And I have a sliding fee doctors payments for low income with out medical insurance.

I was most worried about furniture I have, nice but 20 years old, looks new, with no recipts I cant prove their age. Tv and computer, basic stuff.

So far 3 different collection agencies send letters, and i think some debts have been bought and re sold a couple of times.

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These debts occured before 1994,, 1994 was the last payment on ny.

My ex husband talked me into getting credit cards and then used them and had me sign. He always said if i did not he would leave me.

I am ill and can not work so my social security check will be it from now on.

But it pays for my apartment, and the basic needs.

I cash my check in a grocery store, I get my medicines on a patint assistant program free. And I have a sliding fee doctors payments for low income with out medical insurance.

I was most worried about furniture I have, nice but 20 years old, looks new, with no recipts I cant prove their age. Tv and computer, basic stuff.

So far 3 different collection agencies send letters, and i think some debts have been bought and re sold a couple of times.

Luckily these are way past reporting periods so should not cause any dings to your credit. And, if SOL is 15 years you only have to make it to 09. Do you recall when in '94 these went delinquent?

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No I dont know when. my ex husband took all the important papers when he left me about 4 or 5 years ago. I never worked, I was always a housewife.

In fact I dont know how many credit cards or with who they were with. He always handled everthing. I guess they total over $20,000 and several cards.

When he finished racking them up he left. I was married 21 years.

Every month these 3 collection agenecies put INQUIRIES I think that is called dings on my credit report. I cant get a new free report for a couple of more moths. I know one was RJM and 2 more.

Since these are ol 1994 debts how can I get these monthly inquiries off my report. If i ever have to move to new apartment, no one will rent to me with all these inquiries. The debts dont come up only the constant inquiries.

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Do you know if you are/were personally liable for these credit cards? Did you sign applications?

How do you know they are dinging your bureau reports every month? Are you pulling your reports every month?

If you do have a possible legal liability for these cards then collectors do have a right, usually, to pull your bureau reports. However, they do not have the right to pull them over and over and over again.

There are things you can do to deal with collectors and your credit history and people here can offer advice but the bottom line is, YOU are the one who will have to do the work.

Since you aren’t working a full-time job, the one thing you do have is TIME…you have time to learn about this process and time to work to rid your life of these piranha.

In the meantime, please stop worrying about things they cannot do to you and especially stop worrying about your credit bureau reports…they can be dealt with but in the meantime, inquiries are not worth getting worked up about.

Please contact a moderator to see about getting the screename with our real name deleted and then either go back to JulieM or something more obscure.

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Thank you again, I pull it only once a year when it is free. But it always has the record of the 3 collection agencies putting in an inqurie each and every month as it gives the month and day it was inquired about and it becomes a long list for each month all year long. How can I stop this as if I have to move to another apartment I dont think the apartment managers want to rent to someone who has these dings every month for 2 or 3 years now.

As I would have to pass a credit check to get rent, that would be very bad.

Oh the name realy is not my real one. No debts come up on my credit report only the dings or inquiries. But I know that would hurt me.

My neighborhood is getting very bad and I might have to move for safety.

As I stated I cant work as I am ill and will not be geting any better, just slowing worse with time.

Yes these debts I signed all applications for the C.C. cards as my exhusband made me do it. And at stores, etc, he made me sign always and his name was not on any only mine, He would have left me homeles nd no way to work if I would not sign.

Now we ar divorced about 5 years and i dont know where he is, he left ton.

I dont even know who the cards were with, just about 14 different cards. I would not know how to find out who they were with before 1994. I think he started them in abou 1998, but I have no papers as h took all the papers wih him when he left.

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You say you ex made you sign up for these cards then he took off with all the paperwork.

You should have filed a police report against him, you should notify the credit reporting agencies of the fraud so they can activate a fraud alert. You should contact the FTC www.ftc.gov to get a ID Theft Affidavit.

Go over your credit report and get the addresses for each company that you believe to be one of these accounts and write to the creditor explaining the situation. That you want to send them a copy of the ID Theft Affidavit and the police report.

Would not hurt to speak with a lawyer about your case.

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Please stop worrying about your credit reports. If you need to rent a new apartment then sit down with the landlord and explain what happened…if the landlord has any sense at all what he/she is really going to be interested in is how well you’ve been paying your bills, especially your current rent; so long as you’ve been doing that you should be Ok. And if one landlord turns you down, then go to the next one.

No one can really control who is looking at their credit reports anyway and anyone would not rent to you simply because of the number of inquiries is probably not someone you would want to rent from anyway.

Moving on; I’m very sorry for what’s happened to you what your ex-husband did was a terrible thing but I suggest that you also need to recognize that you played a part in what happened to you – perhaps more importantly, there is really nothing that can really be done about it anyway. What you can control is what you do from this point forward.

I’m not sure how much “good” would come of the “ID Theft” angle…it probably wouldn’t hurt but I think it’s getting a bit late in the day to start that process. The advice of talking with an attorney is probably a very good idea and I suspect there are

You are not helpless – you obviously have access to a computer/internet which is a powerful tool. You also, since you are not working have something many of us don’t have which is TIME. Don’t waste it worrying about what has happened or what might have been; use it to your advantage.

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Thank you all for the good advice. I did go to legal aid. They explained I have NO case because even though he threatened me he could not force me to sign. But hen you never worked before and always been a housewife and ill to be threatened was very intimidating. He even put the pen in my hand and said sign or I will walk off and leave you to die by a dimpster homeless.

I sound like I am whining, which I am. It is behind me now, only the debts remain.

I cannot prove he did this, no witnesses and he will say he did not do it.

so I got on with my life. I cannot pay these old bills, but I am rebuilding my life and paying my rnt and utilities and food with my social security check

I guess I am just scared of losing my furniture and posessions which is all I realy have left.

If taken to court is there any documents I can sign to prove it is all I have and nothing new will be forth coming?

Thank you all so much for your help and support in this time of strife for me.

Julie

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As has been mentioned, all have given some good advice. I'll only add my thoughts to this.

To add to something mentioned. It is true, your SS cannot be touched, period. BUT, if you had it direct deposited to a bank account, they could go in that way as the funds, once deposited, become "free money". So, do not open an account anywhere.

The statute of limitations for reporting has passed, which means these debts cannot be reported, no matter who it is. Since you identified one of the collectors as RJM, which is a "buyer", your worries are even less. They bought the debt for pennies on the dollar. They operate by collecting as much as they can from unknowing consumers, which is the position you are in now. Do not worry, we will get you educated. Many times this buyer folds upon receipt of a cease and desist letter. Why this is important to know is you could use this against them if they are reporting a collection account. By this you would send them a letter to delete and go away or be sued. We will address this more if necessary later. What some of these buyers do is report the information as a way to cause you to pay as they hope you do not know the laws allowing them to get away with this. Also, some of them try the ploy that since they now own debt, all starts over again. Not true. the laws are quite clear on this and you have them in an immediate violation.

Even if these CC debts fell under the 15 year statute, all you do for now is put them off until next year. Then you can tell them to go eat Maggot Droppings. Understand there is argument that a credit card is considered an open end account, which I believe it is and have had success stating as such in dealing with collectors, which means this debt is timebarred at 6 years with no legal recourse available to the collector. You would read the The Truth in Lending Act, Section 104.

Like the others who mentioned it, I also feel you are judgement proof with your income alone. As to your personals, it is true limits are set. An example is if you owned a car worth $5000, and the state limit is $4000, the judge could cause you to sell. You get this form at the courthouse. It is fairly easy to fill out. Do understand that they will look at the whole picture as well as the individual. And, yes, health does play a big part.

I am inclined to agree with those who recommend you send a letter to these collectors of your situation and being judgement proof. Being buyers, they may go away. Most important, do not, for any reason, agree to anything. Nothing!

If they call, simply state there is no law written that requires you to talk to them, say goodby and hang up. Then note the date, time, collector info, and conversation in a notebook or memo pad. Keep for your records. Will explain why when necessary. Send a letter certified with receipt stating they are not allowed to call you again.

As to the inquiries on your credit report. If they are "soft", such as those by one of your regular creditors, do not worry as potential creditors/landlords do not see these. If they are "hard", then, yes, potential do see this. Most important here, is if you do have to move, and the landlord asks of this, blame it on your EX. No lies, just the reference to. Only give the minimum of explanations. At the same time, since these debts are timebarred, the collectors do not have a legal right to "touch" your cedit report as they have no legal cause. Moral, yes, legal, no. Yes, argument does exist on this matter, but, I believe as I said.

Just sit down and relax. You are fine. Listen to the others. The letters are only a scare tactic. When you pull your next free report, let us know what is there, such as any collection accounts on any of these debts. The same about the inquiries.

No, the ID theft won't fly. At any time you could have said "NO".

And, lastly, if by some chance, one of these "ADUB's" do sue you, let us know immediately, if not sooner, so we can help you.

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These original credit cards I think were all from Ohio, But we moved to California, then to Florida, then back to California and lastly back again here in Ohio. He might have taken some out in those states, I dont know. But none were paid on since 1994. Ohio is 15 years I know but Fla and Cal is about 4 years. We never told Florida or California that we moved back to Ohio in 1994 so do these all Staes end in 2009 or do they keep running as no one ever was notified of a move. I guess each stae still thinks I live there unless they found me, Which thet did here as thet have this address on the past 5 years of the yearly annual credit check with Experian and the other two. So can I safely guess all of these will end from being collected on in 2009?

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In most states, they can continue to try to collect forever; a debt being past the statute of limitations simply means that they've waited to long to bring an action in court (of if they sure anyway, that you have an affirmative defense).

It's immaterial in any case because as we've said several times, you SS is NOT subject to a judgment.

Take reasonable steps to protect yoruself and don't simply ignor any summons if you are served one but I'd say it's very linlikely that will happen at this point; especially if they know your financial situation.

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As Robert says, do not worry.

Do understand that your moving from state to state means nothing. There is no law written that requires you to notify anyone if you decide to move around. But, there is a moral obligation to notify your utilities and landlords, but, no state agency. If there was, they would be violating your Constitutional rights.

To hopefully clarify something, I'll say this. As previously stated, each state has their own statutes regarding the SOL. As Robert pointed out, some will allow collectors to attempt for eternity, but, you, as a consumer, can stop this by nailing them on a violation, which is found in FDCPA 807(2)(a), as they are misrepresenting the legal status of a debt. Do understand that as long as their letters do not threaten, or arrive in a way, such as weekly, to where it is considered harassment, they may do so. Either way, sending a collector to cease as debt is timebarred is the best way to get rid of them. There are other states that do not allow this, and consider it a violation to even attempt collection of a timebarred debt, California being one of them.

And, do understand that all states have what is known as "Full Faith and Credit". This simply means that any state can come into another as long as they abide by the laws of that state and it's Constitution. As to collectors, they may use the longer of the two statutes, if different, to collect. In regards to being sued, they can only sue you in the county where you now reside, but, this only applies in small claims courts. If arbitration, they may use the county/state of the creditor. Then, if they win the arbitration from another state, the judgement now comes under another set of laws. By this, I mean, that if your present state of residence does not allow foreign default judgements to be domesticated (enforced), there is nothing the collector can do to force payment.

Therefore, Robert and I, along with the others want you to stop worrying so much. If you receive any written communication, read it closely, then let us know and we will respond accordingly. In short, do not contact them in any way. As to the reporting part, none of those debts may be reported now. The statute has passed.

And, lastly, if you decide to dispute any of them being reported, do so at your own risk. Why is because many of these CA/JDB's will respond by contacting you to scare you into paying them. Yes, you do not worry as if they verified with the CRA on your dispute, you have them in violation, which will easily scare them off. If not, they are more than "ADUB's", they are absolute idiots. Do know beyond all doubt that any collector who has these accounts now are buyers as most all CC companies sell of their delinquent accounts, and, with their age, I'm positive of this.

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I just remembered that Merchants Credit Guide and RJM were 2 of the 3 that keep pulling my credit report each month and everyone can see it. I just heard if they get a judgement they can get a sheriff to come in and take furniture, etc even if its only worth $100.

Can I sign something called a certificate of indigency or ahed of time get and fill out a debters exam asset form to prove I have almost nothing.

I know I keep worrying but its hard not to when I read all these posts as to what they can do to you.

Thanks

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This has really all been covered before.

You are worrying about nothing – NO ONE can just come in and take your furniture and that’s especially true for debts that are nearly 20 years old.

If a creditor is stupid enough to actually try to do anything about this (which is highly unlikely) then come back here and ask for hlep, in the meantime; please, please, please stop worrying about this and get on with your life.

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Most definitely! You are worrying about nothing. Sit down and enjoy the rest of your life. In short, if no one is sending you threatening letters or calling you demanding payment, leave it alone. Just in case these CC debts fall into the 15 year SOL, wait until the month following the DOFD, DOLA, then nail them for their monthly inquiries.

To comment about your last post, and to support what Robert says, no one, not a CA, not a JDB, not even a Sheriff, can come into your home and take your possessions unless a legal judgement is in effect, AND, after all other avenues of collecting have been exhausted, such as a garnishment of wages. If one of them did file suit, your immediate action is to obtain the "Judgement Proof" forms, fill out completely, submit with your answer as to being judgement proof, and appear in court. Then, with your situation as you describe, it is fairly assured the court will agree and no one will be able to do anything. ZIP! ZILCH! NADA! NOTHING!

Robert and I do hope these last two posts have eased your mind and you will now sit down and relax. You're making a mountain out of a mole hill.

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