The baby boomer generation is quickly moving into their senior years. Seniors are often scammed out of their hard earned money by debt relief programs and debt collectors. Thankfully, there are a number of legal protections in place to ensure that seniors are treated with the utmost respect and dignity when they have outstanding debt.
A common scenario is a senior citizen having an outstanding account with a credit card or utility company. This account could be outstanding due to the senior entering the hospital, travel or the senior moving to a different address. However, seniors should not pay the bill right away. Seniors should ensure that the bill is actually something they owe. Many times a bill collector may be attempting to collect on an account that is associated with the wrong individual or the account may have been paid a long time ago. Seniors should ask that the debt be validated or simply tell debt collectors to cease and desist contacting them.
Debt collectors who receive a cease and desist letter from an individual with outstanding debt may only pursue the debt by filing a lawsuit. Seniors have several protections when they are sued over a legal debt. For example, most seniors receive social security payments or a pension check. Many debt collectors use wage garnishment in order to recover the outstanding debt. However, a social security or pension check cannot be garnished by any court. A court may also order that a bank account be levied for a debt. However, seniors who have their social security or pension checks deposited in a bank account will not have the funds removed.
A creditor may place a lien on land or a home that an elderly individual owns. These liens may be legal in some states while they are prohibited in other states. The exact requirements for liens varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Seniors who believe they may have a lien placed against their assets should consult with a lawyer or other professional to determine the best course of action.
There are millions of seniors who have legitimate illegitimate debt. Many creditors attempt to nickel and dime seniors for as much money as possible. However, seniors need to remember that they are protected. Seniors cannot have a garnishment placed against a social security or pension check. Seniors also cannot have levy placed against a bank account where the funds are deposited.