Congratulations, you won in court, but have you collected your money? Do you know how to?
You have prepared for court, you presented your case to the judge and he awarded you a judgment. What you didn't know was ...that was the easy part.
How To Collect Your Small Claims Judgment
This book will teach you to collect your money!
What you may not know is that it is easier to win your judgment than collect it. But you're not alone. 80% of judgment holders NEVER collect their money. Why? They either don't know how or simply don't have the time to devote to the process. That's where How To Collect Your Small Claims Judgment comes in.
It is a guide that will assist you in every step of the process in order to give you the best chance in finding your debtor and collecting your money.
YOUR FREE EXCERPT APPEARS BELOW. ENJOY!
Congratulations, you won in court…But have you collected your money?
You have prepared for court, you presented your case to the judge and he awarded you a judgment. What you didn’t know was...
That was the easy part.
As you have discovered by now, it’s easier to win your judgment than collect it. But you’re not alone. More than 80% of judgment holders NEVER collect their money. Why? They just don’t know how.
That’s why I have decided to write this comprehensive manual on how you can collect your judgment. It is a guide that will assist you in every step of the process in order to give you the best chance in finding your debtor and collecting your money.
Are you ready? Let’s show you how to collect that judgment!
How To Find Your Debtor
Now, you ask, how do I find the loser that owes me money? Well, there are a lot of places to look and I will be discussing them all. Stay with me, I will explain them in order from the easiest to the more difficult things to do. I have added a checklist for your convenience at the end of this chapter, so just check off the items as you do them. And no, you won’t be breaking any laws!
Note: Judgments are good for ten years in most states and then can usually be renewed for another ten if done BEFORE the expiration. Check your state and county on this, as I said, rules may be different so check!
Note: After you have won your case there is a waiting period before you can begin collecting. Check with the court where you were awarded your judgment for that information.
We will be discussing the many public and private resources available to you and what you want to look for. As you may know, public records are free and many of them can be accessed right from your computer at home. Those that can’t are available in the office where they are located and are available for viewing just for the asking. See the freedom of information act for more information.Check: http://www.usdoj.gov/oip/
Note: Keep ALL receipt for any money you spend on collecting your judgment. I will tell you why in chapter 5. This is VERY important so go get a folder right now and label it: RECOVERY COSTS.
• The better records you keep, the easier it will be to get your money back.
Note: Be polite and friendly when dealing with clerks. They can make it easy for you… or not so easy.
WHERE TO LOOK
• Phone books. Yes, that’s what I said. Just take a look. It’s the simplest way to find your debtor and the most overlooked. Do you have any old phone books on hand? Look there too. Sometimes people move close by and want to keep their same phone number. If they have requested that it be unlisted, you will still be able to get it if you look back a year or two. If you don’t keep old phone directories yourself, check your local library.
• Criss-cross directories and Reverse directories . Most cities have them and they are usually available on-line. These directories are cross referenced by name, address, phone, and street. Don’t forget to get information on neighbors. They can be worth their weight in gold as far as information, but be careful what you say. You don’t want them to give the debtor a heads up that someone is on their trail.
• Try calling the operator. Ask for your debtor’s address and phone number. If they have a new address or number, it may not be listed yet.
• Post Office. If you have ever moved you’ve probably used a change of address form. We all need to get our mail so we can pay all those dang bills! Even debtors have some bills that they must pay. So, if your debtor has moved, they have probably left a forwarding address.
• U.S Mail. If you think you have found your debtor’s address but your not sure, just send an envelope with your debtor’s address on it and under your return address (don’t put your name on it) just write “Return Service Requested.” If they live there they will get the mail and think it is a mistake, if they don’t live there it will come back to you. Hopefully with their new address on it. Remember to keep track of all previous addresses and phone numbers. This information will assist you in tracking your debtor.
• Internet. Just Google your debtor. You may find that they have a MySpace page or are on Face Book. Do they have a business? Check their business name. Get Creative.
• County Court House. Check the court records by searching for your debtor’s name. Be sure to check civil records, vehicle records, family court records and criminal records. You can find a ton of information here! Be sure to look for name, birth date, social security #, phone number, and driver’s license number. You may not get so lucky as to get SS # or driver’s license number since that information is not public records, but look, you might just get lucky!
Note: check the county where they reside but Also check surrounding counties as well.
• Federal Prison. Check to see if your debtor is locked up. www.bop.gov/
• County Recorders Office. Look here for birth, death, marriage, deeds and sometimes tax records. Usually you have a dropdown menu of a buffet of records you can view. Check out the ones that you think might get you the information you need. Again, you are looking for name, birth date, social security #, and phone numbers. Take notes and make sure you list any other information that could be useful, such as if they own property, where, and if there is a foreclosure or any liens on the property.
• Tax Assessor’s Office. If your debtor owns any property, either residential or business, you’ll find the information here. Look for real property (all types), vehicles, aircraft, boats, etc. You may also check auto and boat registration if there is a separate office in your area for this. You get the picture. Be sure to check to see if there have been any foreclosures and if they have been finalized. Take notes, you will use the information when attempting to collect.
• City License Filing/ Business Records Office. Here is where you will check to see if your debtor has a business license or DBA (doing business as), otherwise known as a fictitious business license. You will be able to check if there are any partners, where the business is located and possibly some additional information as well.
• Check these Licenses. Hunting licenses, dog licenses, fishing licenses and any other type of license you can think of.
• UCC Filings. Corporate records and officers of the corporation will be found here along with their address and possibly a phone number.
• Occupational License. This is where you will find a specialized business license for your debtor such as contractors or any other specialty.
• Specialized websites. There are many websites that can do a person search. Just be careful and shop around. Some offer no hit, no fee. You don’t want to pay for the wrong information or worse yet, no information at all! Knowing previous addresses and family members come in handy here. Then you will know it is your debtor.
• Free Websites. There is a list in the resource section. Just be sure to check several. Some are more current than others. And keep track of everything you find.
Learn How To Enforce Your Judgment And Get Your Money!
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