Sign in to follow this  
cjtx2

Deceased

Recommended Posts

A few days ago I was notified by one of the CRAs that one of my creditors is reporting me as deceased. I know this is an illegal collection tactic, since the  SOL is nearly out, they expect me to show up, provide a bunch of documentation to show I am alive while I complain about it so they can use it to sue me.

So I pulled my credit report and for starters, I cannot get my FICO score because of my "deceased" status.

The DF is not even consistent, since it reports I am deceased on some accounts and not others.

What is the process here? Do I dispute the information with the credit bureaus to trigger some sort of bogus verification from the DF? Or do I go for a removal, since the information is clearly inaccurate, cannot be trusted.

A consumer statement might be necessary to clarify things. I know a statement is useless in calculating scores, but it would be hard for the bureau to allege they did not know I was alive and failed to investigate.

Do the credit bureaus have any liability?  Can they change someone's life/death status on the say so of a DF without an official death certificate?

or can they hide under the claim they are just parroting what someone else reported to them (even if they have reason to question its accuracy)?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Start with a dispute with the CRAs first and see what comes back. The answers to all of your other questions will depend on how the CRAs respond to your dispute.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first place I would call is the Social Security Administration and make sure they are not listing you as deceased (or I would go to the office). Once they list you as deceased, you are going to have a very hard time because next is your checking account being closed and drivers license and vehicle registration being cancelled. In fact, I would notify your bank and the state DMV too that your credit report status is incorrect. There have been horror stories about this.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your responses.

So far it is just one creditor reporting me deceased. But it is a great idea to be proactive and contact the SSA office, the DMV and the driver's license office.

I wonder what is the official requirement for a bank to close an account. Hearsay from a creditor or something official like a determination from the SSA office or a death certificate.

The banks with my checking accounts do not routinely pull my credit reports so I guess they would get their info from somewhere else.

I had read about this problem happening to people who failed to correct it for years and by then there was not much to do. Apparently it is becoming very common, since TU includes this issue in its dispute FAQs.

I think the creditor hired a debt collector and they left a message some time ago asking to speak with a representative of my estate. I thought it was a joke in very bad taste or at least a collection trick, so I did not dignify it with an answer. So all it took was not responding to ONE collection call from this CA to report me deceased.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, cjtx2 said:

I think the creditor hired a debt collector and they left a message some time ago asking to speak with a representative of my estate. .... So all it took was not responding to ONE collection call from this CA to report me deceased.

If they were referring to your "estate" when they called, they already had you down as deceased, probably because the creditor gave them your file that way by mistake.  There's no logical reason to believe a debt collector would intentionally do this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found a FAQ in the SSA website. They can issue an "Erroneous Death Case - Third Party Contact" notice letter to give to banks, doctors and others.

https://faq.ssa.gov/en-US/Topic/article/KA-02917

It is supposed to be for cases in which the SSA records contain this type of error. Not sure if they will issue the letter because there is an error in the credit bureaus' files.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, Harry Seaward said:

There's no logical reason to believe a debt collector would intentionally do this.

Unless that is their bread and butter. I looked them up and the company name is "Deceased Case Management Services LLC" aka DCM Services.

They are a third party debt collector who specialize in collections from estates and relatives of deceased debtors. They lay a guilt trip on relatives of deceased debtors who have no obligation to pay the debt and mislead them into thinking that they are violating the law or that the bank will care one way or the other so better pay in order to be in the bank's good graces.  

It looks like they intentionally did it. Even if they received the file, they should at least verify it. It is their main business!! (as compared to a regular debt collector).

I think the voicemail was a FDCPA violation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, cjtx2 said:

Unless that is their bread and butter. I looked them up and the company name is "Deceased Case Management Services LLC" aka DCM Services.

The creditor contacted the collection agency,  not the other way around.  
 

1 hour ago, cjtx2 said:

It looks like they intentionally did it. Even if they received the file, they should at least verify it. It is their main business!! (as compared to a regular debt collector).

What you think they should do and what the law requires them to do might be 2 different things.

1 hour ago, cjtx2 said:

I think the voicemail was a FDCPA violation.

Why?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, BV80 said:

The creditor contacted the collection agency,  not the other way around.  
What you think they should do and what the law requires them to do might be 2 different things.

Why?

A regular debt collector would send dunning letters or make collection calls. 

But most debt collectors do not leave a voicemail or just say they are trying to contact you about an important business matter.

A voicemail has a lot of potential to violate some privacy laws and in many cases it discloses that it is a debt collector (and violates FDCPA).

For this company to just assume the file they received belongs to a dead person without verifying it subjects them to great liability. Even more so after they leave a voicemail falsely stating that so and so is dead and we need to contact whoever is handling their affairs or their estate representative. 

At a minimum the call uses deception (claiming you are dead) so if you are alive you would feel obligated to correct their error and confirm your contact information. Since they do not validate whether you are deceased or not, it is a genuine possibility.

If you are actually dead, it opens your relatives to the guilt trip tactic described above. In both cases it is a deceptive attempt to collect in violation of FDCPA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, cjtx2 said:

A regular debt collector would send dunning letters or make collection calls. 

But most debt collectors do not leave a voicemail or just say they are trying to contact you about an important business matter.

A voicemail has a lot of potential to violate some privacy laws and in many cases it discloses that it is a debt collector (and violates FDCPA).

For this company to just assume the file they received belongs to a dead person without verifying it subjects them to great liability. Even more so after they leave a voicemail falsely stating that so and so is dead and we need to contact whoever is handling their affairs or their estate representative. 

At a minimum the call uses deception (claiming you are dead) so if you are alive you would feel obligated to correct their error and confirm your contact information. Since they do not validate whether you are deceased or not, it is a genuine possibility.

If you are actually dead, it opens your relatives to the guilt trip tactic described above. In both cases it is a deceptive attempt to collect in violation of FDCPA.

No, plenty of debt collectors call before sending dunning letters.  It is not at all uncommon.

Depending on the information provided by the creditor, the FDCPA allows for bona fide error.  You assume they are required to validate whether or not a person is deceased, so find the statute or court ruling that supports your claim. 

However, I have a feeling you’ve already made up your mind, so you should contact an attorney.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most banks and entities that do not get information from credit reports get it from the SSA which keeps a master death file that they can access. That is why I suggest going to them first. If you can keep yourself off of that, you can limit the damage this can cause.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, cjtx2 said:

I looked them up and the company name is "Deceased Case Management Services LLC" aka DCM Services.

This proves what i told you. The creditor placed the debt, either by mistake or actually believing you are dead, with these guys. They then sprang into action doing exactly what they specialize in doing. If this was Midland, i could see where you might have a point. Using your logic, it would be suspicious if a company named Insurance for an Insured Public tried to sell you insurance. What they do is right in the name. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, BV80 said:

You assume they are required to validate whether or not a person is deceased, so find the statute or court ruling that supports your claim. 

There is no FDCPA requirement to validate a person's life/death status.

However, claiming I am dead is a lie and they used deception to attempt to collect a debt.

Have you experienced this? I do not believe they can hide behind a bona fide error unless they have implemented procedures to verify the death status of a person. 

I had to fight my instincts to call them up and tell them I am alive, but in the end I decided to ignore them just like I would do with any other scumbag debt collector, which by the way is my right.

For them to go and report me deceased without making sure of it is at the very least irresponsible, but it is also a dirty collection trick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, cjtx2 said:

However, claiming I am dead is a lie and they used deception to attempt to collect a debt.

Lying requires knowledge.  They have been told by the creditor that you are deceased.  

 

14 minutes ago, cjtx2 said:

Have you experienced this? I do not believe they can hide behind a bona fide error unless they have implemented procedures to verify the death status of a person. 

It is for you you to prove that the law requires such procedures absent word from you that there has been an error.  

 

16 minutes ago, cjtx2 said:

I had to fight my instincts to call them up and tell them I am alive, but in the end I decided to ignore them just like I would do with any other scumbag debt collector, which by the way is my right.

For them to go and report me deceased without making sure of it is at the very least irresponsible, but it is also a dirty collection trick.

The FDCPA allows consumers to dispute and debt collectors to respond for a reason.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, cjtx2 said:

Have you experienced this?

So you believe they are pretending you are dead in order to collect from your live self? Can't believe they are that desperate for business.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Goody_Ouchless said:

So you believe they are pretending you are dead in order to collect from your live self? Can't believe they are that desperate for business.

 

According to the NYT and several attorneys, DCM Services goes out of their way to collect otherwise uncollectable debts (from the dead). They also collect medical bills and other debts, but their big business is collecting from the dead.

I believe they are aware of the possibility that the list provided by a creditor is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate, and it is far from official. Therefore, it is part of their business model to assume that in the worst case scenario (if someone is actually alive), they will feel compelled to contact them and show proof that they are alive... like current utility bills, ID, employment records, etc., pretty much setting themselves up for being sued.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, cjtx2 said:

According to the NYT and several attorneys, DCM Services goes out of their way to collect otherwise uncollectable debts (from the dead). They also collect medical bills and other debts, but their big business is collecting from the dead.

I believe they are aware of the possibility that the list provided by a creditor is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate, and it is far from official. Therefore, it is part of their business model to assume that in the worst case scenario (if someone is actually alive), they will feel compelled to contact them and show proof that they are alive... like current utility bills, ID, employment records, etc., pretty much setting themselves up for being sued.

The court doesn’t care about what you believe.  It cares about what you can prove. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, BV80 said:

Lying requires knowledge.  They have been told by the creditor that you are deceased.  

Unlike the alleged balance, which is mostly known or under control of the creditor, external factors are not based on first hand knowledge. DCM knew that a list of dead people provided by a creditor is not official and therefore it is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate. So they knew they were using an unofficial list and it resulted in a misrepresentation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, cjtx2 said:

Unlike the alleged balance, which is mostly known or under control of the creditor, external factors are not based on first hand knowledge. DCM knew that a list of dead people provided by a creditor is not official and therefore it is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate. So they knew they were using an unofficial list and it resulted in a misrepresentation.

Then why did you ask us?

You have a habit of starting topics, asking questions, and then arguing with responses. That is because you have already made up your mind before you ever ask questions. 

Since you really don’t want responses other than those that agree with your preformed opinion, and you seem to know it all, go ahead and sue.  I’m sure the judge will accept any of your unsupported opinions as law. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, cjtx2 said:

DCM knew that a list of dead people provided by a creditor is not official and therefore it is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.

This is the case with any kind of debt. There's always room for error, but the debt collector has the right to rely on information provided to it by the creditor. Especially when the debtor does nothing to try to correct the information. 

Anyway, @WhoCares1000 is right. You need to make sure that the SSA don't have you in their system as deceased. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Harry Seaward said:

This is the case with any kind of debt. There's always room for error, but the debt collector has the right to rely on information provided to it by the creditor. Especially when the debtor does nothing to try to correct the information. 

Background: The OC kept all collection activity in house for a long time.  Then they hired a CA that specializes in collecting from the dead through their relatives. This CA never reported to the credit bureaus and they quickly returned the account to the OC. This is based on all the times the OC made calls on a regular basis. The CA only had the file for about a month or less before the OC reported me as deceased. Also, I have disputed information reported by the OC and they did not correct anything.

I understand what you say applies to regular debts. But given that this was a specialized debt collector, is it possible the OC hired them with the expectation that they would make a determination about me being dead or alive?

Here is the scenario I am preparing for. After I dispute, suppose they insist I am dead and continue to report it like that, without changing anything, as they have done before. If I have to sue the OC, they may raise a defense that it was a bona fide error which they tried to correct by contracting the specialized collector.

Similarly, the CA will claim as in your response, that they relied on what the OC told them. 

So they will blame each other and claim bona fide error and nobody is the wiser. Who is at fault? Is there anyway to know beforehand or do I have to rely on discovery?

Or does the liability fall with the CRAs for not investigating properly?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, cjtx2 said:

given that this was a specialized debt collector, is it possible the OC hired them with the expectation that they would make a determination about me being dead or alive?

First, whatever you theorize about what happened, you have to be able to prove. 

Second, in your scenario, there is no FDCPA violation anyway because it was the OC that nefariously hired the 'i see dead people' CA. OCs are not subject the three FDCPA.  'I see dead people' we're simply acting on what they were told by the OC, as would any debt collector. 

As you have been told previously, if you believe there is an FDCPA violation here, despite our insistence that there isn't, go ahead and sue the CA and you'll get an official answer. 

Quote

If I have to sue the OC, they may raise a defense

You can't sue the OC for an FDCPA violation, so they won't have to come up with any defense at all. They did nothing illegal. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Harry Seaward said:

You can't sue the OC for an FDCPA violation, so thei won't have to come up with any defense at all. Thei did nothing illegal. 

Sorry, I meant to say that I would sue the OC for false reporting / failure to investigate correct records under FCRA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, cjtx2 said:

Sorry, I meant to say that I would sue the OC for false reporting / failure to investigate correct records under FCRA.

Is the OC reporting you dead to the CRAs?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Harry Seaward said:

First, whatever you theorize about what happened, you have to be able to prove. 

What kind of proof are you referring to? 

Contracts?

Dunning letters? 

Calls?

Or is it enough to show that if it looks like a duck, etc... ?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this