I’m not an attorney, I am a judgment broker. This article is my opinion, and not legal advice, based on my experience in California. If you ever need legal advice or a strategy to use, please contact an attorney.
With my work, I see evidence that many American judgment debtors are sharing their Social Security Numbers (SSNs), particularly in Arizona and California; especially those who had immigrated to America.
That amazed me, as all my life, I’ve learned that sharing one’s social security number was dangerous or problematic, and one might be penalized for doing that. It seems there is not any punishment for an average person that shares their SSN with others.
I believe that social security numbers are free. How could someone want to share their SSN? Possible reasons are to attempt to thwart judgment creditors, and to attempt to stay “off the grid”. I imagine that many people that share social security numbers are paid, and pay with cash.
Primarily due to hassles for business and strong taxation, and the anti-drug, anti-gambling, anti-prostitution, and other victimless crime laws; there are massive underground economies that avoid paying taxes, and operate primarily on a cash basis, that sometimes provide income for many who live “off the grid”. I wouldn’t be surprised if welfare, food stamps, social security payments, and disability payments are still paid, after entities learn that someone shares a SSN.
What are the downsides of sharing your SSN? Perhaps the disadvantages are mostly for the people who expect or get pensions, paychecks, or SS payments; and are “on the grid”, paying taxes, etc. For those on the grid, anyone else using their SSN could be considered identity theft. For those on the grid, there seems to be little reason to share their social security number.
Usually, someone’s social security number is not something shared with average 3rd parties. However, when someone does something to cause a judgment to get entered against them, the judgment creditor, or an assignee of record, has a right to learn their SSN for the sole reason of attempting to recover their judgment by, for example, hiring a Sheriff to levy the wages or bank account of their judgment debtor.
When a judgment debtor shares their SSN, it may make it hard for judgment owners, data services, and private investigators, to determine the correct debtor. Employers and banks use social security numbers to verify and uniquely identify the actual judgment debtor. When a judgment debtor shares their social security number, hiring someone to determine where they work, may create many incorrect results.
What has occurred with some judgment creditors, is if they have a judgment debtor (e.g., Dan Debtor), and pay a private investigator or a service to find out Dan Debtor’s SSN, and they find out that Dan Debtor shares his social security number with several other individuals in the same town. If Dan Debtor shares his social security number, it may make it more difficult for judgment owners to have Dan’s assets levied.
In the current times of extra privacy protections, just part of the judgment debtor’s social security number is permitted on (e.g.) abstracts of judgments. When a partial SSN matches many (exact same) names that are common in a county, that may cause mistaken identity and confusion, or at least a headache, for a non-debtor person with a same common name.
The combination of sharing social security numbers and denying permission for complete social security numbers, can make judgment recovery more difficult, but not hopeless. Limiting SSNs is because of concerns over privacy and protection, however SSN protection is no assurance of any real privacy or protection.
A SSN is the easiest identity tool for a levy or a lien, however it is not always necessary. When one needs to verify that they know the actual judgment debtor, this can be accomplished using addresses, etc. Having the debtor’s social security number is by far, the ultimate way to verify for certain, the bankruptcy situation of common-named judgment debtors.
With data services, even when the social security number is truncated, you still can search by address and name, and find precisely the same debtor. Even if there are limitations on a business, you can learn to work legally around many of them.
http://www.JudgmentBuy.com – Judgment Enforcement. Nationwide free judgment referrals. The easiest, fastest, and best way to get the most money for your judgment.
Mark Shapiro, the free judgment matchmaker. We pay for judgment leads, and have the best quality free judgment referral leads for enforcers, collection agencies and contingency collection attorneys.