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Old 02-01-2014, 10:10 AM   #1
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RV and property owners-check your property for unknown liens!!

I had a rude awakening recently when I found out an unscrupulous debt collector filed a phony lien against my home!! Sorry it's a little long, but everybody should be aware of this!!!


Today I found out I am a victim of a sleazy scam. Did you know anybody can place a lien against your home FOR A FEW DOLLARS? I didn't, but just discovered there is a lien against our house placed there by an unscrupulous Portland, Oregon debt collection agency that has a partnership with a sleazy law firm a few blocks away, they may even be the same entity. I would suggest every home owner call your local title company or county records department and see if someone has surreptitiously placed a lien on your property, I never would have known it was there until the following happened:

Since the '90s, I have been getting calls from collectors looking for a person with my first and last name. When the last four digits of my SSN were compared with that of the real debtor, it did not match and the collection agency would apologize and promise not to bother me. Then a few years later, some other collection agency would buy those "leftover" debt contracts that the previous agency couldn't collect and the calls would start again and I would have the same conversation with the new collectors with the same promise. Then a few years later somebody else would buy the junk debts and so on. Two days ago (Jan 29, 2014) I got a registered demand letter from this attorney stating I owed over $8,000 on an initial debt of about $3,000 plus interest and "attorney fees" and I had 30 days to pay. I called them, again providing the last 4 of my SSN and he casually mentioned they would try remove the lien if I TRULY wasn't the person. LIEN? I didn't know there was a lien on my house! I called the title company and got a copy of the lien which was filed in November of last year. It has my name and address and the other guy's SSN and driver's license number. Needless to say, my attorney has a copy of all this stuff and I am hoping I have some recourse on these scammers. I may have never known about this lien until I wanted to sell my house or obtain a HELOC or other mortgage! These sleazebags are probably counting on the fact that I would be old and feeble and in a hurry to sell and then they could cash in on debt plus more interest when I sold.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:22 AM   #2
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Not to say that they were not being sleazy BUT what could have happened is they thought you were really that person and just filed the lien to try to collect cause they thought you were lying.

Now why do I think that might be a possibility?
Thom's full name is so common that he's had CVS call him to let him know that his prescription is ready ... long story short it took a call to the doctor's office which by the way was in San Jose and so was the CVS and we lived in MI at the time.
He's also had friends call ME to ask is things were ok, found out that there was a guy with the same name that was hit and killed in the town and they put it in the paper and they were all worried about me thinking it might be Thom.
He's had attorneys call him about various things including a hit and run accident. He had proof that he was no where near the accident place. Took lots of calls and threatening with a lawyer to stop those ones.

Those are just a few of the things with a common name for Thom.

On the other hand they may be completely sleaze balls and just doing this for money.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:35 AM   #3
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Yes, it's quite possible it is just sloppy collection practice, but the point is, I would have never known my property was encumbered until they casually mentioned it in a phone conversation. A little Googling turned up at least one similar case against this attorney but the party filing the suit was past the statute of limitations because he discovered the lien too late. Coincidence? Could be but I don't really think so. Liens can be put on RVs and other vehicles in much the same manner. It pays to check, doesn't cost anything either....
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:39 AM   #4
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I found out about a similar deal about 20 yrs ago when my DW and I applied for home loan. The title company said "... no, because you (DW) has warrants issued". We said what? Turns out, at least in the county Kansas City is in if a person racks up enough unpaid bills a warrant is issued. You'd think it would be tied to your SSAN or Drivers Lisc Number. Nope, they just issue an arrest warrant for "jane doe...use your name...residing in County xxx". We had to go back and prove she did not live there during those years to process the loan. They said it is far more common for parents if your name is "john Doe SR....fill in your name" and if Junior has run ins with the law.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:47 AM   #5
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hogdriver, how difficult was it to clear that all up? I have retained an attorney just in case because I don't want this attorney to slither out with an "oh well, we goofed, ha ha" attitude, which is what they seem to have.
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Old 02-01-2014, 02:13 PM   #6
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That is one of the good things about my situtation.. I have a lein against everything I own.. Which is nothing. The motor home is in my wife's name, (Ok the towed is in my name but .. Well.. When I sell it it will be scrap metal) All the debt (Save the loan on the MH, is in my name (The loan is in my deceased wife's) Since they can not place a lein on the shirt on my back. .and that's about the only thing I own.. I'm covered. Eventually I'll get even with the debt collector since they seem to have ignored Michigan State Debt Collection law.
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Old 02-01-2014, 02:30 PM   #7
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I was at settlement for the sale of my home in 2011 when the title company told me that there was a lien. They asked for my ss card and drivers license to make copies. They then had me write that this was not my debt and that I had no knowledge of the debt or the person who owed it. It took an extra 5 minutes but settlement went through without a problem and I did not have to pay anything.
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Old 02-01-2014, 03:21 PM   #8
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Its not just debt collectors who file liens. anyone who has been in the contracting business learns quickly how easy it is to file a lien and how important it is to get Lien Releases before paying off the contract. a typical scenario is, homeowner hires a roofer; roofer buys materials on credit from xyz lumber yard; roofer finishes project and collects full payment from homeowner. unbeknownst to home owner, the roofer never paid his bill at xyx lumber yard and now the lumber yard has every right to file a lien against your home. it doesn't matter that you had no fault in his non-payment, the state says the best way to get him paid is to encumber your house and make you pay or make you go after the roofer.
If the title company ignores a valid lien and closes a sale without clearing the lien, they may end up paying the lien. Some liens are not covered by title insurance and may pass from the original owner to the new owner. Lots of folks have gotten a rude awakening after buying an abandoned property without a thorough title search, to find out there are more liens against the property than its worth.
Lien laws vary state by state.
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Old 02-01-2014, 03:35 PM   #9
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At least in the State of Michigan, collection agencies have a lot of rules and regulations that they have to abide by. I would think a conversation with your state's Attorney General may speed up the process and ensure that the lien is removed promptly.
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Old 02-01-2014, 04:01 PM   #10
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Had two problems like that once
1) Collection agency called me at work and demanded payment for a frig. that I had never purchased. They had the wrong guy. I asked them if we could go to court so that I could counter-sue them. Never heard from them again.
2) Had a Dist. Att. for Lakewood, CO send me a letter telling me that my drivers lic. was revoked due to an accident. He put the name of the lady I hit in the letter. I called her and asked her to describe me. Description did not fit at all. I sent a letter back to the DA, and told him he had the wrong guy (and proved it) and then I told him that his letter and error had caused me such stress that I was "no longer able to perform my husbandly duties". He, being a lawyer understood what this meant and he apologized and explained that the desk Sargent had drawn my name and address out of a phone book!
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