Checking Accounts

by Sally
(Tampa, florida)

Can a debt collector freeze you bank account without warning?

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May 13, 2010
Freezing a checking account
by: Mary Reed

Thanks for submitting your debt collection question on our Q&A page.

A creditor or debt collector cannot freeze the money in your bank account without winning a money judgment against you first and that would require that the business sue you and win the lawsuit. Assuming it did all of those things, it would be entitled to collect on the judgment and one of the ways it might do that is by taking money from your account.

Some funds are exempt from seizure however, including Social Security payments, SSI, unemployment income, veteran's benefits, and the like. If your bank account is frozen and you have funds from such sources in it, then you will have to request a hearing so that a determination can be made as to what portion of the money in your bank account can be seized and what portion you can keep. This is why it's always a good idea if you are having money troubles to have exempt payments directly deposited to a bank account that holds that money and only that money. Then there is no confusion about what is what.

If you believe that your account should not have been frozen, I recommend that you immediately contact a local consumer law attorney with experience in debt collection cases. Find out how to get FREE or low cost legal advice about debt collection from a consumer law attorney here.

Please share what happens with your situation in the comments section for this question. We are very interested in hearing how this turns out for you, and your experience can help others who are struggling with debt collectors.

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