- Posted April 13, 2014 by
HOW TO LOCATE THE JUDGMENT DEBTOR
Internet, Telephone Directory, Voter Registration Records, etc…
Locating a debtor after a judgment has been entered in your favor may be a complicated and troublesome process. You will need to know some information about the debtor before you can collect on their assets.
If you have trouble locating the debtor, there are a number of available options you may exhaust:
Try to use the Internet to find information on the debtor by typing their name into a search engine and see what comes up. A good website to start looking is www.publicrecords.onlinesearches.com. You should be wary about obtaining information off of the Internet however, because more than one person with the same name may come up in a general search.
Sometimes the telephone directory can serve as a good resource when you are trying to find information on the debtor. Utilize resources like the White Pages to find available information. You can also try calling Directory Assistance to locate the debtor’s phone number.
U.S. Post Office Forwarded Addresses
If you cannot find the debtor, the U.S. Post Office will not voluntarily reveal the debtor’s new forwarding address. However, you can try to send an envelope to the last known residence and if the debtor filed a Change of Address form, then the post office will forward the envelope to the debtor’s new address. It is then up to the debtor whether or not they contact you with their new address. If you have specific questions regarding change of addresses or forwarding addresses, call the U.S. Post Office Customer Service hotline: 1-800-275-8777.
Regardless of how much information you might have (i.e., the debtor’s social security number, driver’s license number, etc.), it is illegal to run the debtor’s credit report without his or her knowledge. However, a good place to look up background information on the debtor is www.ussearch.com.
If the debtor owns a business then you may be able to collect from the business’ assets. The City Hall website and the Secretary of State’s website are great resources to help you conduct business searches. You can request information from the Secretary of State regarding the business by writing to the Secretary of State or visiting its website.
For a fee, private investigators can help you find information on the debtor. Many investigators are listed online or in the Yellow Pages.
Public Real Estate Records:
If you are having trouble locating a debtor, one way to obtain information is to go through public real estate records at the County Recorder’s Office. The County Recorder’s Office is in charge of recording any last recorded document under a person’s name such as real property transactions. Each county has its own recorder’s office that stores public information for their residence. You will need the full legal name of the person and go to the county where you think the debtor resides to be able to look up any records through the County Recorder’s Office indexes. You can also look up records through the County Recorder’s Office by using the Internet and entering the debtor’s name.