Have you recently lost a civil court case and are now facing a judgment you do not want to pay? Experts would recommend you not try to skip out. But if that’s your plan, you had better get off the internet.
The internet is one of the best tools creditors have at their disposal. It is a tool used masterfully by judgment collection agencies around the country. One such Utah judgment collection agency, Judgment Collectors, says the internet has changed the debt collection game. It has given agencies the upper hand in tracking down debtors and their assets.
True Anonymity Doesn’t Exist
It is kind of funny to hear people talking about maintaining their anonymity online. Guess what? True anonymity doesn’t exist anymore. Unless you live in the middle of nowhere without any digital access to the outside world (and if that were the case, how could you be reading this article?) you leave behind a digital trail every time you go online.
Consider your smartphone. Your name is attached to it whether you know it or not. So even if you never use a computer or tablet to get online, your phone continues to generate tons of data that can be used to track you down. Do not forget that the company behind your phone’s software is tracking you a million ways from Sunday in order to learn every minute detail of your life. They do it for advertising purposes. Yet the same data could be used to track you down.
Social Media Could Be Your Downfall
When it comes to online tools, few things are as productive as social media for judgment collectors. People are so obliviously careless about how they use properties like Facebook and Twitter. They never consider the fact that all their Facebook posts and Twitter tweets become part of the public landscape as soon as they are posted.
Imagine a debtor who claims he cannot pay a judgment entered against him because he is too poor. Some six months later, he ends up posting pictures of the brand-new car he bought on Facebook. He assumes the collection agency has forgotten about him. They haven’t, and they have just discovered that he has enough money to buy an expensive luxury vehicle.
Getting Offline Might Not Even Help
Come to think of it, getting off the internet might not even help. Why? Because there is information about each one of us put online by public agencies who are required by law to publish certain types of information. Anyone with an internet connection can find that information even if the person in question is not online.
Have you bought or sold a house recently? Real estate transactions are a matter of public record. These days, nearly every county in the country meets their legal requirement to publish that information by making it accessible online.
Maybe you don’t have any online accounts. Perhaps you are reading this article anonymously at the public library. It doesn’t matter. If you recently bought or sold a house in your local area, any collection agency worth hiring can discover that information in mere minutes. It is not that hard.
It’s true that the vast majority of judgments are never collected. But things are starting to swing in favor of creditors and collection agencies. A big part of that swing is the ever-encroaching internet. The bigger it grows, the easier it is to find deadbeat debtors and their assets. It is a tool that can be used against you should you decide to skip out.